Review: Heartless

Written and directed by Kevin Sluder (@kevin_sluder if you’re Twitter inclined), one half of film-making duo with Jennifer Sluder and Sunshine Boy ProductionsBased on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”. An overlooked associate struggles to complete a corporate presentation as a horrific secret gnaws at her conscience. Starring: Stacy Snyder, Joanna Sotomura, Matt Mercer, Blaine Vedros and Ron Morehouse

This is the second film from Sunshine Boy Productions reviewed here at Film Carnage (you can see the first here) and they have stepped up their game with Heartless. It’s a tall order to get your audience invested in a story that lasts around 11-minutes but it is certainly achieved with this film. Opening with a tense score, supported by a touch of classical music, the scene is set for what’s to come.

You get the first nod of worry when Synder’s character comes across as the, almost sociopathic or stress driven, type that will physically portray the person they think you want to see. Things take a turn with the revelation of where that nature comes from and it is about to get messy.

Snyder does a brilliant job of making her character feel sympathetic and real, the story happily avoids making her come across on screen as too formulated and instead feels sincere. The perfectly douche-fied male colleagues are fit to be the modern men who feel they can get away with sexism so long as it’s provided in the form of a joke and are ideally placed while the women take it in their stride, in a manner of speaking, and shine in centre stage. Synder without a doubt gets the majority of screen time but that is to the film’s benefit. 

Heartless almost feels like Shallow Grave meets Heathers, if such a thing could exist; it’s a brilliant mix of sarcastic, black humour and bloody violence with some surprises in store. This short film shows you how you can make a modest budget and limited screen time work wonders with a tight script, sharp editing and solid directing. Heartless is 11-minutes of comedic, dark, violent fun.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Heartless is currently nominated for Best Screenplay, Short, Best Ensemble Cast, Short & Best Editing, Short at the FilmQuest Film Festival. The film is also nominated for Best Actress (Stacy Snyder) and Best Makeup at the NOLA Horror Film Festival in New Orleans, screening on September 20th.

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