By Jared Charles
July 6, 2020
Descend into Madness…
In my professional opinion, there isn’t ever a bad time to delve into a good horror story. Fortunately, I happen to stumble upon these gems quite often. This time, it’s a short film with the aim of reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story, The Tell-Tale Heart. The visual representation of Poe’s original writing is done justice; and boy, will it work for your own evil, horror-loving eyes.
First-time director, McClain Lindquist, and art director, Lyndi Bone, work in tandem to deliver a terrifying exploration of madness. Perhaps, the most notable elements of The Tell Tale Heart rest upon the visual landscape and the panic-inducing edits that the film offers. Joel Petrie and Raymond Delmar use many different montage tricks in the editing room to keep the tension to a maximum; transitional dissolves and intercuts at the slash of a sound, to name a few — all in service of disorienting the viewer about when, and where, the story is taking place. With a run time of only 22 minutes, these edits aren’t over-played, either.
Speaking of behind the scenes, The Tell Tale Heart‘s crew should be given high praise for their work in the make-up and visual effects department, as well. When the set design, make-up, and practical effects culminate to create the razor-sharp atmosphere, almost nothing else can go wrong. It is also worth noting that the film’s soft color palette establishes the timelessness to the story, all while being equally proper and disgusting. Lindquist’s background in music allowed him to clearly define how the mood was to be conveyed with every frame: from the subtle riffs of guitars — to the droning bass of eerie synthesizers. Consistency is apparent across every department.
Perhaps, the only critique is the often overly melodramatic dialogue, and the equally melodramatic performances. If the aim is to have fun (and be equally entertained and terrified), then the execution of the storytelling here is wonderful. However, this reimagining loses the subtlety of the original source material. Gone are the days of suspense and longing for answers; here, Lindquist makes certain to the audience that the Narrator has lost his mind. Though, I fully acknowledge that was the original intention behind Poe’s work, too. It’s a very slim issue to pick, and everything else is flawless.
If you are like me, then you love gothic literature — on the page, on the screen, or wherever you can find it. Lucky for you, The Tell Tale Heart is another excellent addition to the genre and it’s relatively short run time will leave you itching for more. It is about to take a lap around the festival circuit, but the trailer is available for viewing below.
Review can be found at: https://theburrowreviews.com/2020/07/06/short-film-review-the-tell-tale-heart-2020/