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.
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