Hearth is a Canadian thriller from director and writer Sophie B Jacques that recently won two Audience Awards, one at the Regard International Film Festival and the other at Saguenay International Short Film Festival. Hearth was also selected for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. The description of Hearth focuses on Emilie, who returns home after renting it out to complete strangers for a weekend, and the fact that she will never know what happened while she was away. Keeping with the themes of suspense, discomfort, and dark humor, which are elemental to Jacques’ work, this short feature is bound to send shivers up your spine.
While Emilie may never know what truly happened while she was gone, the viewers get to see what the couple in her home did during their time there. The story moves between their time in Emilie’s home and what Emile notices when she returns. There is some dialogue, though the element that ties these different periods in the house together initially is a voice over reading the review that was left by the male guest. He and the woman with him, they never specifically say if they are married, are in no way the guests that Emilie expected. While she may never know what happened in her perfectly polished home, this unknown is probably for the best.
When I began watching Hearth I was entirely unsure of what I should expect. I do want to mention that the film is entirely in French with English subtitles. Initially I thought perhaps Emilie would secretly be watching her guests or that it was possible that her guests had found a way to watch her, but that is in no way the case. The affairs of the couple in her home are far more nefarious and dangerous. If you enjoy anything in the horror or thriller genre Hearth is a feature that you absolutely need to seek out.