By James “Jimmy” Boanerges
May 21, 2020
True Poe, True Horror, Truly Worth Watching
This isn’t a movie that needs to be watched. It is a movie that must be watched, repeatedly. It is a movie that needs to be studied and dissected.
There are a dozen reviews of this film by more qualified sources than this author, proclaiming the greatness of the movie, therefore it is the intent of this article not to critique, rather to express the experience of this fan.
On the surface, it is a brilliant adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story The TellTale Heart. Unlike so many of its predecessors in film, that dilute and cheapen, this adaption remains true to the intent of Poe’s work: the exploration of homicidal madness and the validity of the legal defense of insanity.
Everyone should be familiar with The Tell Tale Heart, if not, go read all 6 pages of it.
In director McClain Lindquist’s film, there isn’t a wasted scene, an unimportant line, or an insignificant camera angle in the entire film. The pacing is both smooth and breathtaking. The story is instantly engaging, the imagery is captivating, the acting is mesmerizing, and the editing and music are flawless. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this film is the most easily overlooked, that is the blending of Poe’s unique voice into the dialogue of the Narrator in a modern day setting. There isn’t a line uttered by this character that doesn’t sound like Poe himself wrote it—and it doesn’t feel forced. In fact there is a line of dialogue at the beginning of the movie that sets up this anachronism brilliantly.
Upon first viewing the movie, a well-crafted, and worthy story is presented. With each subsequent viewing subtleties emerge that call into question what has been taken for granted. Details that are easily dismissed in earlier viewings come forward to put entirely new twists into what is happening—and what is not. Two areasto watch forare the displays of simple technology (in the background) and the wardrobe of the characters (combined with how each character is lighted). These never mentioned details are key to unlocking just how mad the Narrator might be and give clues to which characters may not exist outside of the Narrator’s warped mind.
This movie is haunting in every meaning of the word. The balance it achieves is unbelievable. Anticipation of the climax is agonizing, yet knowing it will end is worse; there is too much to watch, while not being given enough to see; eyes are glued to the imagery, yet instinct screams to turn away; and the ending is final, while leaving hunger for more.
What Poe did with words, Lindquist does with images. Poe’s work engaged the reader’s imagination and gave it fuel to run wild and dark. Likewise Lindquist’s film embraces the audience’s subconscious fears, and lets loose those nightmares.
Disclosure: while the author was not on the set of this movie, he did participate in a prank by notorious teaser, John Lindquist, and penned a phony letter on behalf of the nonexistent Utah Union of Domestic Workers decrying the exploitation of domestic workers in a satirical slam of so-called watchdog groups.
Review can be found at: https://www.soconin.com/news-1/2020/5/21/the-real-review-of-tell-tale-heart