Leigh (Alexxis Lemire) and Jordan (Abby Quinn) are determined to make it in Nashville as Country music duo Torn Hearts. When the duo misses out on an opportunity to join a big tour, they decide to turn up on the doorstep of recluse Country music legend Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal) in a bid to convince her to record a song with them. Once they get their foot through the door, the women realise they may be making a terrible mistake but will ambition and stardom cloud their judgement?
‘Torn Hearts’ is the new film from director Brea Grant (’12 Hour Shift’) with a screenplay from Rachel Koller Croft. Set in the world of Country music, something we don’t see all that often in horror films, ‘Torn Hearts’ is a cautionary tale about meeting your heroes and the toxic side of stardom. It’s quickly established that there are existing issues within Torn Hearts – Jordan is the songwriter who is overshadowed by Leigh’s star power, and Leigh’s relationship with their pushy manager Richie (Joshua Leonard) doesn’t help the two women get along. What they have in common though is their desire to be stars, no matter the cost, and that’s what gets them into a whole lot of trouble.
Jordan happens upon the address of Harper Dutch, the surviving half of a legendary Country sibling duo, who hasn’t been in the public eye since the death of her sister. Hearing that Harper may be interested in recording new music, Jordan convinces Leigh to turn up at her house believing they can talk their way through the door. That proves to be true and Harper lets them into her home but it’s clear that something is amiss. From mouldy food in the cupboards to some very startling keepsakes in a shrine to her late sister, it’s obvious that Harper isn’t totally in touch with reality.
Despite all of the warning signs, Jordan and Leigh press on and this becomes one of the film’s main issues. It’s hard to believe that both of these women would just simply go along with the increasingly bizarre situation. To be fair, Jordan does voice concern but Leigh’s complete blindness when it comes to her Harper feels too far-fetched. Harper starts to needle at the women, pitting them against one another as she relives the relationship she had with her late sister Hope.
Katey Sagal is as reliable as always as Harper Dutch, elevating the film’s material with an assured performance. Abby Quinn and Alexxis Lemire are good too, and believable as a Country music duo who most definitely have the chops to pursue music should they choose to. Unfortunately all three actors are under-served by the material and it’s too obvious to the viewer what is going on so that leaves very little in the way of surprises.
‘Torn Hearts’ is an entertaining film even if it is too silly to really buy into the plot. As a cautionary tale about the entertainment industry, it hits the audience over the head with its message and it doesn’t really offer anything we don’t already know. At this point, I’m pretty sure everyone knows the entertainment industry is a power-struggle cess-pit where you have to have thick skin to be able to succeed when the odds are constantly stacked against you. I just wish ‘Torn Hearts’ had dug a little deeper and capitalised on its wild premise a little more.
Cast: Katey Sagal, Abby Quinn, Alexxis Lemire, Joshua Leonard Director: Brea Grant Writer: Rachel Koller Croft Certificate: 18 Duration: 97 mins Released by: Paramount Pictures UK Release date: 5th September 2022