Supposedly a modern take on Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" story, "Tell Tale" was one of those thrillers that was hyped up because the Scott brothers (Ridley and Tony) were producing it. Of course, throw Poe and the Scrott brothers together and it sounds like it might be interesting. Too bad "Tell Tale" runs a tall tale that essentially never comes close to even touching on Poe's story nor does it do anything all that original as a film. Its predictable, low energy, and rather boring. Not quite what I was expecting.
Terry has so much to live for. Not with his life, but with his daughter's. She needs him. Lucky for him, he finally got that heart transplant he so desperately needed and now things are looking up. He seems completely healthy, his daughter and him are closer than ever, and he has a new relationship with his daughter's docter, Elizabeth. Not all heart's beat to the same drum though and his new heart starts to feed him new emotions and new memories driving him to discover that its original owner may have been murdered in a seemingly larger picture than he's prepared for. Throw your bleeding hearts our for Terry cause what he's going to discover is going to make his life much harder than it was.
I wish this film was more original. Or perhaps stayed truer to the short story of Poe's it was based on. It hardly ever seems even parallel to the story of which it is named after, and in the end "Tell Tale" is your pretty average straight up thriller. It desperately tries to create a connection with its lead to the audience that only works in moments (Josh Lucas does a pretty solid job though and can sell a rather forced character) and its story all tries to build that slow burn of tension and confusion. It never really works either as it comes off as more boring than intriguing with an overall concept and story that has been done to death in the Thriller and Horror genres. It does retain a fairly classy air to it that refuses to submit to its rather supernatural flair that easily could have gone cheesy. Solid acting throughout helps the film from floundering too much in its own plot but a makeshift and straight on take of directing and its own attempts at digging into gray area morality tend to come off as too cliche.
The last act of the film does tend to (finally) pick up the pace a bit and give us far more suspense and tension than the rest of the film could have ever done. The film is worth watching for the last act (and a nice final twist to the tale at the end was nice) but its a tough two thirds to get through to get a pay off that was barely worth it.
"Tell Tale" tried so hard to be original and classy but it rarely accomplishes either in its run time. Its false indicating title is rather disappointing to Poe fans (like myself) and this run of the mill Thriller is only worth a rental at best.
BONUS RANT: The one time they mention Poe's story at all is in a brief quip from a surgeon towards the end of the film. That's it?! That's all you could have gotten in there?! You call the film "Tell Tale" and even credit Poe with the story its 'based' on, but its not even a modernized telling of tale. It has a man starting to go nuts over a beating heart. Oh lord. They should have titled it something different cause it created all kinds of expectations that the film could have never met. Its a great title...just not for this movie.
Written By Matt Reifschneider