Gangbangers quoting poetry, a man biting the face off a living severed head and hoodlum hoodies who are lizard-people straight out of 1970s “Dr. Who” … If “Heartless” isn’t the most ridiculous film I’ve seen this decade, I’ll bite my own face off.
I risk making this truly awful B movie, a cross between “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Attack the Block,” seem more interesting than it is with the above description, but be warned: Schlock is never worse than when it’s pretentious. “Heartless” is almost painful to watch, you’re so embarrassed for all involved.
Jim Sturgess (“Cloud Atlas”) plays a damaged young man named Jamie, whose face is disfigured by a heart-shaped birthmark, although Sturgess’ way of conveying inner turmoil seems to consist entirely of a slack-jawed stare. Jamie is startled to learn that the hoodies terrorizing his East London neighborhood are actually reptilian demons, who burn his mother alive. Vowing revenge, he meets the gangbangers’ leader, Papa B. (Joseph Mawle), who turns out to be none other than Beelzebub himself. He offers Jamie a Faustian deal: no more birthmark, the girl of his dreams, and he just has to cut someone’s heart out.
Writer/director Philip Ridley was last heard from with 1995′s “The Passion of Darkly Noon,” and hopefully he will take another extended sabbatical. The film flopped overseas, so that’s probably a safe bet.