Director: Ernie Barbarash | Script: Chris Sivertson | Cast: Kat Graham (Claire Valens), Merritt Patterson (Eva Crane), Sebastian Roché (Scott Crane), Cardi Wong (Ario Leonard), Roger Cross (Inspector Parker), Aren Bucholz (Lane), ea | Time to play: 100 minutes | Year: 2022
It’s quite an art to deliver a smart and entertaining thriller that doesn’t thrive on predictability and coincidence. It all stands and falls with well-developed characters, but especially with a writer-director who takes his audience seriously. If it turns out that every element that is overemphasized has a transparent function, then as a viewer you quickly feel cheated.
That’s exactly the sentiment that emerges with the intensely mediocre thriller. Heat wave, which revolves around a secret relationship between the ambitious and arsonist Claire and her boss’s much younger second wife. The two women meet by chance when Claire cools off in the pool of a fancy apartment complex during a heat wave, where a friend of hers works at the front desk.
There he meets Eve, who swims her laps in Eve’s costume and tries to seduce Claire. The two often meet by chance and begin a passionate relationship. Meanwhile, Claire tries to get the attention of her employer, a developer of media projects, on the business front. She manages to work her way up in the company.
This is followed by a soulless exercise in filler, in which all the presented blueprints and plot elements carefully await their turn to be used. To put things in a new light, to facilitate a plot twist, but often also to make things more interesting than they actually are. For example, Claire has the almost philosophical mantra that love is many times more deadly than a flame. It would have been more sensible if screenwriter Chris Sivertson had spent the ink of his pen making his particular protagonist believable.
It’s not that he doesn’t try to do this, but they mostly revolve around Claire’s past, where she started an arson attack and became a victim. This is in retaliation for the death of her relatives who also lost their lives in a fire, at the hands of a negligent landlord. After that, she has had a very difficult time on the road to success. She’s so sorry to everyone, if it wasn’t for the fact that this issue also only serves to evoke the hat later and not to give Claire’s character more depth.
Heat wave, which pretends to be an erotic thriller but makes an evening of clovers very horny compared to it, has serious interpretation problems according to the formula, one-dimensional characters, very lousy dubbing at times and, above all, an embarrassingly pretentious plot. That is more often than not completely predictable. In the final act it becomes a complete mess, because everything is really chewed up and explained. The viewer is completely underrated.
Heat wave can be seen in Netflix.