“Torn Hearts,” the 2022 horror film, takes a dig at fame and the people who are in its pursuit. The film is able to maintain curiosity without testing the viewers’ patience, even for a while. And this is solely due to the way the film manages to maintain the dynamics between the three women till the very end. Furthermore, the looming dark secret is made palpable without its revelation, and its twisted nature is what makes that film effective in its intent.
What Happens In ‘Torn Hearts’?
Leigh (Alexxis Lemire) and Jordan (Abby Quinn), singer and songwriter, respectively, together constitute the Nashville band “Torn Hearts.” On the rise, they are looking for a break on the tour of a famed country singer, Caleb Crawford (Shiloh Fernandez), who, after Jordan hooks up with him for a night, tells her that the tour is “all-guys.” With this chance gone, Jordan talks Leigh into approaching their idol, Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal), of the Dutch Sisters, whose address Jordan got from Caleb, and recording a song with her.
After reaching the old and worn-out Dutch manor, Leigh and Jordan receive an odd welcome from Harper Dutch. Her sister Hope Dutch (the other half of their band, the Dutch Sisters), was murdered when they were young and famous, after which Harper left singing. While Leigh and Jordan have a motive of their own, Harper, too, has a motive of her own, one that isn’t as virtuous as that of the “Torn Hearts.” As the film progresses, the motives of both parties are revealed in a bizarre manner. There’s booze, there’s bad blood. And both are wrapped in lush leather and a pathetic past.
Harper’s Hope and Fear
In the film, we find out that Harper killed her sister Hope, which led to her present solitary state. One cannot really say if she killed Hope out of rage, as Hope had decided to leave the band and do something for herself. It seems to be more due to Harper being unable to cope with reality without Hope. It is interesting that the creators have chosen the name “Hope” for Harper’s sister as she brought Harper hope; even the thought of her absence from her life made Harper fear. She knew that without Hope, she wouldn’t be able to be as famous as she was when they were performing together. And to kill Hope was perhaps the only way out for Harper, which, to her good fortune, brought about a rise in their sales. However, it seems that Harper’s mind was not ready to let go of Hope, and so she kept her to herself. That she cut Hope into pieces and stored each piece separately proves that she was also possessive of Hope.
The film makes use of what is called “Hagsploitation,” i.e., a horror sub-genre that shows a former actress, now old and insane to the point where she torments those around her. And in the film, the torment is in the form of Harper’s atonement. While the word atonement sounds pious, in the film, it turns into sacrifice; it is a sacrifice if you think that Harper really wanted to atone for killing her sister Hope by killing Jordan (Harper’s counterpart), which symbolizes Harper killing herself and thereby letting Leigh (Hope’s counterpart) walk away “with a story” and be the star (just like Hope would have had she been alive);
There is another possibility. What if Harper was lying? What if she found herself in Leigh and Hope in Jordan and not the other way around? For Harper to say that Hope [in her death or her afterlife (a figment of Harper’s imagination perhaps)] realized that Harper could atone might just be Harper’s excuse to herself, a cloak under which she could hide her vengeful intention, which was to kill Jordan (Hope’s counterpart) and give Leigh (Harper’s counterpart) the popularity she deserved (just like Harper). It will sound confusing, so you might want to read both the paras again.
‘Torn Hearts’ Ending Explained: Do Leigh and Jordan Survive?
Leigh and Jordan have been living and working together to get a break in the music industry. And all it takes is a single step towards the limelight of success to reveal the dark part that exists inside them. One might refuse to call it the dark part and prefer to call it the negative side, a side that everyone has inside them. What’s interesting is how fame’s property to pose a huge horrific toll has been used as a motif of horror.
In the second half of the film, we see how Harper is able to spark a fight between Leigh and Jordan by poking at their difference of opinions. It is interesting and bizarre to see how two long-time friends, no less than sisters, also have so much to tell about each other. This is not to say that Harper was successful in executing her plan, but is rather proof that Leigh and Jordan accepted their criticisms of each other, compromised for one another, and chose to stay together because they both loved the same thing, music, and knew that they were better off together. Furthermore, Leigh even admitted to Harper that she “picked” Jordan after “four or five” girls. This is where Harper connects with her and not Jordan, as she says towards the end when both the girls are pointing guns at her. Just like Leigh knew that she wouldn’t have achieved whatever she had without Jordan, Harper, too, knew that without Hope, success wouldn’t have come to her.
Then, finally, at the end of the film, it is Jordan who shoots and kills Harper, but by then, Harper has already been able to plant the “story” seed inside Leigh’s head. Leigh’s shooting of Jordan only ascertains the fact that Leigh’s want for fame was much more than her love for Jordan. This was pretty much the case with Harper too, who wanted fame and found it in the “story” that made the news after the death of Hope Dutch, which is a traditional trend. Whenever a popular singer passes away, his or her songs reclaim the top spots on the charts. With Jordan dead, Leigh, too, would have a tragic story to tell the world that would make more people listen to their songs and thus make her popular. But this doesn’t happen.
Before Leigh can leave the Dutch manor, a fatally wounded Jordan shoots Leigh, and they both die. Perhaps the end is befitting for the “Torn Hearts” duo as they both lose their lives at each other’s hands, just like they were earning fame together. It is, as we said earlier, tragic to think that two girls who would have made a tremendous musical band and knew that they could do it together end up dead and that too after a fallout with each other. As a film, “Torn Hearts” doesn’t venture away from its intent and is fully able to leverage the fame of a once-popular artist and use it to give shape to Hagsploitation while maintaining the balance between two struggling singers looking for a “shot.” If you are looking for a thriller in the form of horror, “Torn Hearts” is a great option. So go ahead and give it a watch.