By Kevin Thomas
May 5, 2020
The Tell-Tale Heart is one of Edgar Allen Poe’s most revered stories. It’s a thoroughly unnerving tale that grabs the reader from the outset and doesn’t let go until its chilling finale. As a fan of both that story and Poe’s writing overall, I’m happy to report that this short film adaptation maintains the feel of his work while adding some modern flair.
The story follows a mysterious Narrator (Sonny Grimsley) being questioned by two police officers (Mikah Olsen and Teren Turner) in connection with a local disappearance. The more the man tells, the more unhinged he becomes, only increasing the cops’ suspicions.
The Tell-Tale Heart is an unnerving experience. Grimsley exudes creepiness from the first frame, delivering his dialogue (Much of which is in voiceover) with soft yet malicious energy and an evil smile across his face. The omnipresent score, gothic atmosphere, and beautifully gory practical effects ensure most of the scares hit bullseye, though some may be tested by the jump scares that can be seen coming from space. I also applaud the filmmakers for using their low budget well and making a slick, professional-looking final product that should earn some attention.
The flaws of The Tell-Tale Heart are minimal, but worth mentioning. Those unfamiliar with the story may be confused on first viewing due to its flashback structure, and a character remarks how a bedroom is pitch black despite light coming in from the outside. Those flaws aside, The Tell-Tale Heart is a creepy, loving adaptation of its source material that should satisfy current Poe fans and showcases a new talent in director McClain Lindquist. See The Tell-Tale Heart.
Would likely be rated R for Graphic Images.
May 2, 2020
Following the Narrator, who is haunted by the “evil eye” of the Old Man whom he cares for. Descending further into madness, the Narrator murders the Old Man in his bed and then hides the body under the floorboards. When Detectives Tucker and Office Sharpe come to inquire about the old man’s whereabouts the Narrator frail mind begins to unravel.
Starring: Sonny Grimsley, James C. Morris, Teren Turner, and Mikah Olsen
Directed by: McClain Lindquist
Has anyone ever given you the ‘evil eye?’ Wonder what their problem was, or maybe you wanted to do something about it but never did? Well the Narrator in this story becomes obsessed, and even goes mad because of the evil eye of the Old Man he cares for. In this case, the Old Man actually has an evil eye, or at least an eye with something wrong with it.
The Narrator tells a tale of how he takes care of the Old Man like he’s supposed to, but can’t shake his evil eye. Day by day, night by night, he begins to plan a murder. He finally pulls it off, but not as perfectly as he thought. He’s brought on the attention of neighbors who now have the cops and a detective at his door. They want to know where his Old Man is, and put the screws to him until he cracks.
From start to the finish of “The Tale Tell Heart,” the Narrator does an excellent job of pulling the audience into his crazy tale. He seems to have everything under control with unique style of talking and well dressed look, but madness turns him inside out. There’s no happy ending here, as it gets much bloodier than the audience might have first suspected. Part of his descent into madness includes an excellent back and forth of him being questioned in the Old Man’s room, and at the police station. Because of the way this tale is told the audience might feel they are spinning out of control as well, which means that this short film has done its job. Make sure to catch this one coming soon, or I’ll be giving you the evil eye!
Review can be found at: https://horrosgoryreviews.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-tell-tale-heart-review.html
By Slasher Thrasher
May 1, 2020
Review can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wrIFqgFEs4
By Stacey Shaw
May 1, 2020
Well over a century and a half after his death, Edgar Allan Poe’s works still endure – inspiring writers and filmmakers alike in adaptions and homages of his tales of horror. Their mileage varies wildly, but here with first-time filmmaker McClain Lindquist we get what in my mind is the best adaptation of the classic story The Tell Tale Heart I’ve ever seen (and readers, I have seen them all).
A synopsis of the story isn’t really necessary here right? This story was first published in 1843 after all, so let’s instead get to looking at this shockingly good short film.
Reimagined into modern times, whilst making the narrator (Sonny Grimsley, Blood and Oil 2015) decidedly out of that time adds a jarring side in-keeping with the original story’s descent into madness. Sonny’s turn as the narrator is perfectly pitched as he struggles to hold his composure and air of confidence through the questioning, and almost feels as though he was plucked out of the original story itself with his vocal mannerisms which is nicely nodded to in the opening moments. The cast here are all strong and play their parts with a realism that makes it feel less like an old horror story and more like something you’d watch on a true crime show, their seriousness adding to the tale of woe that plays out.
Visually I was blown away, The Tell Tale Heart is beautifully shot in 4K UHD and the set looks like it’s been plucked out of a big budget period piece – Poe himself would be pleased with the set I’m sure. Costume and make-up SFX have done a fantastic job, the face of the old man is wizened and disturbing without looking even a little bit fake which can be hard to achieve (Especially on a particularly young actor – usually it looks quite off when this is done) but they have absolutely cracked it here. There’s a definite noire-esque feel to the visuals that works with the snappy pacing of the story in a way that holds the viewers attention and drags you into the chaos on the screen which I loved. Gore-wise, yes this isn’t for the feint of heart, but its gore is in your face without being gratuitous which I always appreciate because gore for the sake of gore get’s dull fast, here they build to it and make you wait for that blood-soaked payoff.
As just mentioned, this has a brisk pacing that gives it punch, complemented by the dialogue and scenes that begin to increase in speed to ramp up the tension in every way possible. There is of course also the classic heartbeat sound synonymous with this story, but the score too builds and swells as the story and the madness reach their conclusion. Lindquist is among other things a musician which pays off in spades with this film as it is beautiful and creepy in equal parts, modern yet ethereal – honestly I need that score in my life to listen to whilst writing because it’s a thing of beauty.
So as you can probably tell, I adored this short film – it’s an impressively strong piece from a first-timer who took a brave choice in adapting one of Poe’s most famous works. Aiming high has paid off here, because it’s one of the best shorts I’ve seen in a while. The Tell Tale Heart is a slick, delightfully creepy, and beautifully made adaptation of a classic that deserves a place in any horror fan’s heart.
Rating: 5 out of 5
If you get a chance to see this don’t miss it, this is clearly the start of an epic horror career for Lindquist.
Review can be found at: https://specialfeatureswithstaceyshaw.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/the-tell-tale-heart-2020/