Movie Review: Heaven, With a Hell Switch
Our love for this industry would never change, our desire for its continuous growth requires that we never stop believing and supporting our own. We had been charged up and anxiously waiting to see this one of a kind psychological thriller from the Cine-god, director Abu Idi ever since it was announced and it was certainly worth the patient wait.
HEAVEN details the story of three seemingly young men with a very dark secret, who find themselves in a compromising situation of having to decide how far they would go to protect their secret to risk losing themselves to something they never expected to happen.
Arguably, this movie sits in the one of the toughest genres Ghanaian movie makers are yet to master, Horror / Psychological Thriller. Of course we have seen movies over the years which have in one way or the other managed to pull some amount of fright in all of us but certainly, there are not as many titles as this. Heaven’s script doesn’t fall short at keeping you in suspense. Your mind is put in a constant loop thinking and asking the questions, “why” and “what”. Right from the start the screenplay sucks you in and holds firmly to your attention, it slowly breaks down and eventually gives meaning to all series of events that are responsible for putting our three lead men in the situation they find themselves. From the start of the movie you notice a very different directorial approach that is maintained throughout its full length. The dark setting used throughout sets exactly the right vibe it needed to have as a horror/ psychological thriller.
Anyone would agree that fear is one of the toughest emotions to act out. It’s either you are really afraid or you are not at all. But our three leading cast Umar Krupp, Jose Tolbert and Samuel Bravo did a fairly good job at playing their roles. You could easily notice and relate to all the emotions required to sell their individual roles through their every expression and demeanor. The script required that they each fight their own individual psychological battles of regret, fear, self-vindication, greed as well as loyalty which we believe they perfectly executed to the best of their acting abilities. Christabel Ekeh also managed to impress us again with her role as Heaven, the victim of a shameless crime who returns to take justice in her own way. We noticed actors Jeffery Nortey, Manaf DF and Lisa Raymond for the first time in this movie and we would certainly be on the lookout for more from them after they each stunned us with the flawless delivery from the roles they had been tasked to play.
We also liked the execution of the visual effects needed to tell this story. It was nothing too fancy or in any way exaggerated. Excellent use of lighting and carefully placed time shifts to add elements of a supernatural force was exactly what this script required. And we enjoyed it. We also noticed how the nudity and sex scenes were well toned down to the barest minimum so as not to make them in anyway sensual but rather mildly violent.
Overall, the cinematography in this movie was good but we noticed there seemed to be uneven contrast and texture in some of the shots form scenes that required multiple angles to play out. We also feel that sound was a bit flawed and also uneven. At some points the dialogue from the cast seemed like the voices had been dubbed separately and edited into the scenes.
The screenplay had too many flashbacks but obviously they were necessary to bring clarity to the story and purposefully help the audience to put the pieces of the entire puzzle together. However it was a bit too much for us after seeing some of the scenes more than twice. However we also feel the run-time could have been extended a bit to fit in some more details about Heaven’s torture on her assailants.
Although we liked the makeup artistry in this movie we seem to feel that a better job could have been done in the props department. The gunshot sounds just didn’t work for us. Regardless of the flawed audio with were quite impressed with the sound score of this movie. The choice of score did compliment the vibe this story needed to have.
GhMoviefeak would like to rate this movie a well-deserved 7.3/10 rating.
This isn’t your typical Ghanaian movie with meaningless fragile attempts at getting you scared but rather leaving you confused and upset. Heaven is certainly a step beyond that, a perfect mix of getting a fright whilst getting entertained.
We are always thrilled when we get to see something different that makes a bold attempt at defying the non-existent limits or boundaries that hold down Ghanaian movie makers. Heaven does a good job at doing just that.
If you missed out on the premiere, this is certainly a must-see movie. You need something different from the usual and this is it. Make sure you make some time to go see this movie just to have a feel of all what we are talking about for yourself.
Do well to share your comments, opinions on this movie in the comments section below as well.
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