Ever since first seeing "An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe" starring the absolutely brilliant Vincent Price, I have known something like this film would be very, very possible. Poe’s writing, and his lyrical control over the English language, created a certain beat that Vincent Price helped to introduce me to. Price of course was an amazing performer and easily able to bring just about any story to life, but the madness that his characters become associated with are always a human form. Poe, even though the writing style might even seem ancient to the kiddies out there these days, could get right into the psychology of his characters and would have you right there with them. This sort of human fear and dread seems easily adaptable to the big screen – but it just takes the right sort of ideas. Jason Roberts, the director of Tell-Tale, delivered in hypnotic and stylish form and created a wonderful piece of literature based filmmaking. Basing itself on the original Poe story "The Tell-Tale Heart", but throwing in enough curve balls that it becomes something entirely new within itself. Running at a brisk 12 or so minute running time, Tell-Tale is astonishing in it’s breathtaking visuals and hyper stylish visuals that just don’t seem to fit in a low budget short film – but I for one am not complaining! The breathtaking cinematography is just so out of this world that it would be hard to write a review without simply glowing over it; as well as the editing which deserves special mention as without it there wouldn’t be the kinetic edge that keeps the film so entertaining and interesting.
For those of you who have lived in their closet for the majority of their life, the original Tell-Tale Heart told the story of a young man who had been looking after an old man – who soon grows mad, and blames it all on the old man’s light blue blind eye. He becomes mad while focusing on this evil eye and ultimately one night decides to put the evil eye to rest once and for all by killing the old man. Once the job is done, the young man dismembers the old gentleman and buries him under the planks of the house. Once the inspectors show up, the man starts to hear a light thumping that grows and grows until he realises the source of the thumping: underneath his very feet, under the planks… it is the beating heart of the dead old man. He tears himself apart inside to the point where he has to dig up the old man himself and retrieve his heart – however, as you may have guessed; Tell-Tale does not simply repeat this classic story but throws in enough twists that it becomes almost completely different. The most noticeable is having a female lead in the role of the young man; and having the "Old man" being her abusive father from childhood. I don’t want to go too deep into all of the twists, but I was pleasantly surprised and actually found myself guessing at what would come next in a film based on a short I have heard many times. Hard to knock that!
Tell-Tale is simply an audacious and beautiful take on a story that many of us love and I find myself continually impressed with the amount of talented people emerging on the independent scene these days and as technology is becoming more and more apparent; the quality just keeps getting upped more and more. Tell-Tale is an excellent display of that, as the production values are on part with most Hollywood films released. It truly is that beautiful looking. I can’t recommend it more, it truly is a beautiful and fun short film. I think Vincent Price and Edgar Allen would both be proud!