“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8
In a darker age, superstition overrules common sense and faith is tested to its limit. Amid such darkness, the currency is fear and suspicion.
At the heart of our story is a young woman, Persephone. Her past is a mystery that we feel compelled to discover. Her present, in contrast, cannot be clearer as we find Persephone accused of the murder of her master and mistress; her apparently devoted employers and protectors. Surely only supernatural forces in this age of extreme darkness could have created such a desperately sad scene.
Our sympathy and desire to find an explanation, even justification, for Persephone’s actions is not shared by the Prosecutor. There is little scope for leniency.
Instead, an example must be made of anyone behaving out of the ordinary. Only punishment in the most severe terms will satisfy these courts.
But this is not Persephone’s future. On the verge of conviction, court proceedings are interrupted by a woman swathed in black; a woman as mysterious as Persephone’s past. This woman is the Reverend Mother, a voice she claims, for the lost, the misbegotten and the fallen. Mixing dark wit and blackmail, she barters for Persephone’s life, pledging to gain atonement for her crimes on the condition that the young woman remains under her care in a convent tending to the sick.
Persephone, now under the control of the Reverend Mother, attempts to rebuild her life but it is not easy. The patients in the convent infirmary are dying from a new and burgeoning plague. But it is not these “earthly” forces that increasingly torment our heroine. Rather it is the supernatural forces that underlie the very fabric of the convent which, like an invisible wall on the inside, prevents Persephone’s emotional and spiritual entry into her new environment, in the same way as a real wall on the outside prevents her physical exit.
Persephone finds solace in her only friend, the young novice Catherine, who was also granted refuge here. Catherine’s focus is to break out of the convent to meet a boy, Ellis, with whom she has struck a relationship through the crumbling outer wall. For Persephone, there is nothing on the outside to attract her attentions. A growing trust between Persephone and Catherine provides us with a glimpse of our heroine’s life story. But the more comfortable we become with Persephone’s mysterious past, the more concerned we become with her future. The convent too has a past and Persephone must unravel the dark secrets of her saviours.
Together, Catherine and Persephone will learn that not everybody is as they claim to be. That faith is more than just believing and that not every road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Paul Hyett’s experience in the film industry, involves working on more than 60 films. Paul is the latest in a long line of fantastic British directing talent to come to the fore and his work on ‘The Seasoning House’ proved exactly that. Paul and his writing partner, Conal Palmer, have worked tirelessly on the original script, by Gregory Blair, to create a unique vision for ‘Heretiks’ to be brought to the big screen.
Born in Southern California, Gregory Blair studied theatre and writing at various prestigious locations, including UCLA in California and Cambridge University in England. Gregory’s writings ‘Cold Lang Syne’, ‘The Last Banana’ and ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, have all been represented on stage. His comic novella ‘Spewing Pulp’ won a Stonewall Performance Literature Award and his last feature film script won Best Screenplay and Best Narrative Feature in the US in 2014.
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