Heaven Knows What (2015)

I wish that I could review just the first 15 minutes of this new low budget tale of drug abuse and homelessness.  It would be filled with fun recollections of a fast paced, dangerous brand of filmmaking that uses real street people and utilizes its nihilistic approach to give us something genuinely scary.  Unfortunately this is not the case and I am sad to say that this one was a letdown.

The story is of a young woman named Harley (Arielle Holmes) who is addicted to heroin going about her day to day life.  Most of her time is spent panhandling, shooting up and trying to get high again.  The script is based on the lead actress’ memoirs and feels real at every turn.  Most of the conflict comes in the form of her on again/off again boyfriend (Caleb Landry Jones), who pops in to briefly torment our protagonist.   He nails the role as Ilya and is a menacing force in the lives of everyone around him.  His presence feels real and terrifying, making you dread what he may or may not do when he appears.  The film opens with Ilya telling Harley that he will only forgive her (for an unknown indiscretion) if she dies.  Harley quickly retreats to a corner store to buy razors and attempts suicide in front of a cackling Ilya.  Unfortunately the film loses a lot of steam after this and never really finds its feet again.

By no means am I saying this is a bad movie, it simply did not live up to my expectations.  I do plan on revisiting this film in the future and hopefully it will be better in its subsequent viewing.  Heaven Knows What releases 9/14 on DVD and VOD platforms.

2.5/5 STARS

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