“Heatwave” is a thriller that offers nothing new but manages to keep its reputation. The one aspect that holds the film back from making an impression is the absence of intense moments, despite having a scope. Other than this, there is enough material for the film to establish itself as a thriller that has a fair share of secrets. Granted that there isn’t much tension in the story but the way things work out or reveal themselves is effective.
‘Heatwave’ Story: What Happens In The Film?
In a house fire, 15-year-old Claire Valens’ (Kate Graham) family, which includes her parents and her sister, are burned to death. Claire is the only one who is alive. To take revenge on the slumlord, Jacob Smith, whose recklessness caused the tragedy (the fire occurred due to an electrical failure), Claire burns his house down too, along with him. She was convicted of arson and was sent to prison for three years. She is released at the age of 18, after which she goes to a halfway house known as Second Chances, where she grows up.
Claire Valens, all grown up now, has recently joined a real estate firm, Crane Corporation, headed by Scott Crane (Sebastian Roché). She intends to propose to him a new development proposal for a building called the Ironside Cannery, something she had heard about from a random woman while stealing her way up to the rooftop swimming pool of a hotel (courtesy of a friend who works at the hotel’s reception). It is at the swimming pool that she meets the beautiful Eve (Merrit Patterson). They connect, and that sparks a relationship, mostly physical. Back at the office, Claire manages to get her proposal through, and Scott decides to greenlight it. He also reveals that Second Chances, where Claire grew up after the death of her parents, was the passion project of his first wife, Anabelle.
One day, Scott invites Claire to his house party along with the other staff. At the party, Claire meets Scott’s second wife, Genevieve, AKA Eve. She is the very woman Claire has been sleeping with. She is shocked and hurt. While returning, her friend tells her that Scott’s first wife disappeared and was eventually declared dead.
Eve apologizes to Claire, and they patch up. But Eve tells her that they need to be careful as Scott isn’t used to losing. Then, one day at the office, Claire sees Scott throwing a fit of rage at someone over the phone. He then walks out of the office. Claire tries to contact him later, but there is no reply. The same night, she visits his mansion and finds the main door ajar. She enters it and looks around, but Scott is nowhere to be found. The next day, a detective arrives at Crane Corporation. Scott Crane was missing until later when his burnt body was discovered at Ironside Cannery. With all the evidence pointing towards her, will Claire Valens be able to find the culprit? Or has her past finally caught up with her?
The Significance Of The Title
The title of the film is “Heatwave,” and it makes sense. There is always some kind of heat, either literal or figurative. A heatwave has hit many regions of the country. Claire’s family died in a fire. Then she, too, burned down the house of her slumlord. When she, as a kid, burned some posters on their wall, her father let the scorch marks be there so they would remind Claire and her sister Ella of what happens when people are reckless. The heat between Claire and Lane is visible. Claire and Eve also share the heat of passion for one another. Claire tries to burn her hand after finding out that Eve has been lying to her. For her, this would be yet another scorch mark that would be a reminder of what happens if she is reckless- getting involved with a woman only to find out that she is her boss’s wife. Scott tells Claire how love is like fire. Scott was also burned after being killed. Claire uses a “burner” phone to contact Detective Parker. The film ends with Claire claiming that she is “the… fire.”
Interestingly, there is also water as opposed to fire or heat at crucial points in the film. For example, Claire first meets Eve at a swimming pool. Also, the weapon used by Scott Crane is an “ice” pick. So, while Claire is herself the heat, or so she thinks, she is counteracted by the cold of others. This is always the case in life. There is always a Yin to every Yang.
The name of the halfway house where Claire grew up after the death of her parents is Second Chances. This too is significant. Firstly, Claire got her second chance at life over there. Secondly, it is the place where Scott Crane buried his first wife, Anabelle, after which he married his “second” wife, Genevieve, AKA Eve. More than anything, it is “Second Chances” that brought Claire face to face with her past that, even at the cost of quite a lot of pain, ultimately completed the chain of events that fate made her a part of. It is inside “Second Chances” that Lane Smith dies at the hands of Claire. And to think about it, she also got a second chance at love after she decided to turn Eve to the police and not be manipulated by her anymore.
Burn By Chance
Considering all that happens in the film, what are the chances that Claire would overhear Eve’s conversation on the phone that she had wanted Claire to overhear? That is what started everything, after all. Claire was simply walking down the reception, surely not to turn heads and blend in. And suddenly, she hears a random woman talking to someone about a plot somewhere, and she seemingly digs into it to the extent of presenting it to her boss the next day. It may sound normal, but it does bug somewhere too. It is, however, not surreal to think that someone like Claire, who is making her way into the real estate business, would certainly find the mention of a plot interesting. It is all up to the readers or viewers to take it the way they want to. The fact is that Eve, AKA Genevieve, had rightly anticipated Claire as a “go-getter,” pretty much like Genevieve’s husband, Scott.
‘Heatwave’ Ending Explained: Does Claire Kill Eve?
Of all the things that could have gone wrong, including Claire not being able to hear what Eve was talking about on the phone, the only thing that changed the outcome as intended by Eve is that she had fallen in love with Claire. At the very beginning, she struck a deal with Lane Smith to kill her husband, Scott Crane, in return for taking revenge on Claire (Lane Smith was the son of Jacob Smith, who wasn’t killed, but the fire did take a toll on his body). Eve then set everything up piece by piece. Lane even kills Scott Crane which clears her path to claim much of her husband’s properties. But she faltered at one point. She got involved with Claire and wasn’t able to come out of it. So, it seems that it was, after all, the “heat” of love and passion that foiled Eve’s plan. This fits Claire’s addressing herself as “fire” (at the end of the film), the heat of which consumed Eve who herself is the one who sparked it inside Claire.
Though Claire has her gun pointed toward Eve, she doesn’t kill Eve. And while she does confess that she loves Eve (Eve had confessed her love to Claire earlier), she states that she doesn’t want to be manipulated anymore. She thus turns Eve to the police. Claire doesn’t want to risk getting another scorch mark as a reminder of her recklessness. Ultimately, she emerges as the winner, all set to start working on her real estate business; the fire still burning in her eyes.