TORN HEARTS (2022)
Collaboration from Blumhouse Pictures and Epix finds country singer wannabes Jordan (Abby Quinn) and Leigh (Alexxis Lemire) performing under the name Torn Hearts and seeking to hit big. They gain an opportunity to visit reclusive country music legend Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal) at her home, and try to convince her to perform with them, as a way of getting the attention they seek. Harper Dutch, however, turns out to be something quite unexpected…and possibly quite dangerous.
Flick is directed by Brea Grant from a script by Rachel Koller Croft. Grant has a good cast to work with, as Lemire and Quinn play well the wannabe rising stars, and Katey Sagal does strong work, as usual, as the unstable Harper. The flick gets a bit unsettling the moment the girls arrive at Harper’s home, Brea Grant quickly establishing that something is wrong with this former star and our ambitious duo may have bothered the wrong country music icon. Even when a night of partying with their idol seems harmless enough, the following morning things start to get weird. It does take a while for the flick to get going, but it is still fun to watch veteran actress Sagal gradually bring Harper to a psychotic boil, without ever descending into camp. Harper’s behavior goes from eccentric to unhinged and she takes her young guests with her. Sagal’s costars also do a nice job keeping up with her, as Harper plays them against each other, and things get a little nasty. It’s the last act where things get a bit disappointing, though. Torn Hearts is like a tense fuse that never leads to the explosion. It does have the situation finally descending into secrets revealed, emotions boiling to the surface, madness and murder, though doesn’t really get nuts like we want it to, until literally the last few minutes, and even then, it seems to be holding back. The ending doesn’t have the impact or resonance it needs to, either, as it simply comes as no surprise. Grant also could have given the film a snappier pace, as it starts to drag just when it should have been ramping up. She does have a nice visual eye, though, especially in Harper’s old, music paraphernalia-filled house, and the setting works very well to establish some atmosphere. Not a complete success, but not a total failure either, flick is still worth a look, especially for fans of Sagal. Torn Hearts also stars Shiloh Fernandez as Caleb Crawford, a country star who gives Jordan Harper’s address and Joshua Leonard as the girls’ manager, Richie.