The Tell Tale Heart (2020) Short Film REVIEW | crpWrites


Short Film Review







If you are not familiar with the works of the famous Edgar Allen Poe, the first thing you should know is his material is not for the faint of heart. Poe almost always discusses extremely dark themes surrounding murder and horror. His work has influenced many films and directors throughout history, whether it be an actual remake of Poe’s work or just inspiration from it. The Tell-Tale Heart is Poe’s story: a narrator attempts to justify his sanity to the audience while, at the same time, recounting a murder the narrator committed. Twisted, unnerving, and gorey, this version was still very much Poe-esque. 


Basically, the narrator is a young man who is the caretaker of an unrelated elderly man who he eventually murders with a knife, Psycho-style. The police officer and detective question the narrator in an attempt to get him to confess, while the audience experiences the narrator’s delusions surrounding the murder. We see his gruesome attack intercut between the current discussions with the police officer and detective. The pace is even and all the parts of the story and visuals come back around and get tied up like a nice bow. 


The special effects, makeup, editing, and cinematography are fantastic. There are multiple times throughout the 20-ish minutes of this short film where I thought to myself, “This is high-quality production.” But still, somehow, it as a whole falls short. The unmatched attire and persona of the characters felt awkward--it was unsure if it was meant to be set in a modern day era because the only character who fit that mold was a police officer in a standard, recognizable uniform. It felt confusing and out of place against everything else. The house looks like it was straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, except for the modern day cars parked in the front yard. The detective, narrator, and old man seemed to be from a period piece. The writing seemed almost pretentious, as if it was trying too hard when it didn’t need to.

I understand and appreciate an attempt at something different; a remake of a classic that has been remade time and time again. However, I think if this version of The Tell-Tale Heart would have chosen a modern direction and stuck to it, it could have really worked. Instead it is an extremely visually appealing and gruesome horror story that packs a lot into a short timeframe, yet just slightly misses the mark. All of that being said, I still very much enjoyed it and was fully entertained.