Wearing its, erm, heart proudly on its sleeve, this short from director Chris Di Nunzio is a modern update on the Edgar Allan Poe classic The Tell-Tale Heart.

Clocking in at a brisk 25 minutes, Her Heart Still Beats is an eye-catching mix of paranoia, insanity, depression, desperation – and murder of course.

Anyone who has read the Poe story will know exactly where the plot is going, but Di Nunzio gives it a neat twist to keep things fresh.

The film is far from perfect – there are issues with pacing, and some of the acting leaves a bit to be desired, but that pretty much comes with the territory in a low-budget short.her-heart-still-beats

Fiore Leo plays lead Ed Gallo, who we first meet pleading his case in the back of a police car.

The story quickly rewinds to show Ed and wife Sarah (Leighsa Burgin), a working couple who seem to be getting along OK.

That all changes though when Sarah returns from work ill one day, with Ed seemingly convinced that her eyes have ‘changed’ – and not for the better.

Suddenly Ed is consumed by an irrational desire to kill his wife, although he is torn as to whether or not to go through with it.

Poe fans will know that he does – but will he get away with his crime?

Director Di Nunzio keeps things ticking over nicely, with a restrained vibe that relies more on suggestion than any over-the-top, in-your-face horror.

By pitching things very much from the viewpoint of Ed, the viewer is also in a constant state of unease as to whether something really is going on, or if it is all purely in his mind.

As stated earlier, there are issues – the brief running time means that Ed goes from mild-mannered keyboard tapper to crazy, knife-wielding wannabe killer in the blink of an eye (no pun intended).

And Leo’s performance does stray into the ‘hysterical’ a bit too frequently for my liking.

Despite all that, Her Heart Still Beats is an enjoyable slice of psychological intensity – let’s hope that director/producer Di Nunzio gets some tasty feature-length material to sink his teeth into in the not-so distant future.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.