A Film By Sunshine Boy Production Co.
by: Stephen Ingves
Be still my beating heart! I love receiving a film recommendation and not only having it live up to the hype but actually surpassing it. Such is the case with the horror short Heartless which is based upon the timeless classic “The Tell Tale Heart” – by Edgar Allan Poe. The film was written and directed by Kevin Sluder who was also one of the Executive Producers. The other half of this outstanding husband and wife team is Jennifer Sluder who was also an Executive Producer on Heartless. On top of that she handled production design, wardrobe and just about anything else the film could have possibly needed including marketing Heartless with the help of the incredibly talented publicist and marketing specialist Lilian Sue.
Heartless begins with Shelby, played superbly by Stacy Snyder, as a corporate associate preparing herself to give a big marketing presentation. Only problem is she is forced to deal with a belittling and truly “Cuntasaurus” of a supervisor in Clare while at the same time facing the stereotypical chauvinistic good ‘ol boy network that can unfortunately dominate the corporate environment. As Shelby gets ready to begin her presentation, the corporate “pig-wigs”…I mean big-wigs, engage in crude “locker room talk” in her presence clearly demonstrating their demeaning view of women as merely objects. The part about these scenes that I did like is you will feel no empathy for these people later. In fact there was a bit of dark humor regarding these characters later in the film that honestly had me chuckling out loud.
With this intended to be a spoiler-free review and the film having a run time of just over 12 minutes, there isn’t a ton I can divulge about the plot itself without giving too much away. Although if you have had the opportunity to read the short story “The Tell Tale Heart” you probably have somewhat of an idea as this was a very well done update on the classic tale. Right from the beginning Stacy Snyder grabs your attention and does a phenomenal job as Shelby. I can certainly see why she was very recently nominated for “Best Actress” for her role in Heartless. It was fantastic to see her transformation on screen from being slightly timid and bullied by others to where she reaches the point that she is done taking bullshit from others! However, Shelby IS haunted by her previous actions and her guilt and inability to maintain her sanity begins to take its toll on her. This scenario was extremely well done by Kevin Sluder’s writing and directing and was then brilliantly executed and brought to life on screen by Stacy.
The practical effects were exceptional and I must mention Josh and Sierra Russell who were brought in to work on this film due to their talent and reputation preceding them. Two words…the heart! You’ll know what I’m referring to when you see it. The production value was stellar and I enjoyed not only the gore but the fact that the acting was so good I found myself easily hating the other characters (other than Shelby of course) and was happy to see them meet their demise.
There may have been one or two MINOR things I wouldn’t have minded seeing tweaked but at this point we’re talking about nit-picking the film and I don’t believe in doing so when possible. Few if any films are ever perfect. However, Heartless does check off a lot of the boxes for me and it doesn’t appear that I’m alone. It continues to rack up the accolades. Stacy Snyder was nominated for “Best Actress” – Short at the Genre Blast Film Festival on Sept 2nd while Kevin Sluder was nominated for “Best Director” – Short with the film being nominated for “Best Short” at HorrorHound Film Fest. Coming up at the Film Quest Film Festival in Provo, UT on Sept 13th, Heartless has been nominated for “Best Editing” – Short, “Best Ensemble Cast” – Short and “Best Screenplay” – Short. The people have spoken and they’re not done yet!
Heartless is on fire and still making the rounds at various film festivals so keep an eye out for it and it may just be screening at an upcoming film fest or horror convention near you! It was an excellent modern day retelling of “The Tell Tale Heart” and I would certainly encourage anyone that may have the opportunity to view it to do so and #SupportIndieFilm! I’m happy and excited to give this film 4 out of 5 beating hearts!
Check out more about the film, including the trailer, some of the cast & crew, the website, production company, as well as the film’s FB, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Kevin Sluder on Twitter: @kevin_sluder
Jennifer Sluder on Twitter: @jensluder
Stacy Snyder on Twitter: @StacySnyderLA
Lilian Sue on Twitter: @LSue23
Prod Co on Twitter: @sunshineboyprod
FB pg: @HeartlessHorrorMovie