TELL-TALE Review [A Pleasing Twist on Poe]

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Directed by Michael Cuesta, 2010
Written by Dave Callaham

Dave Callaham’s script for TELL-TALE can hardly be considered a strict adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s original story about a murder who smothers an old man in his bed and then buries the chopped up body in the floorboards of the old man’s estate.  He thinks he’s gotten away with the crime only to discover that once the police arrive to investigate he can hear the beating of the dead man’s heart through the floorboards.  Convinced the police can also hear the ever-increasing pounding, the killer, driven insane from paranoia, confesses his crime.

Here’s the pitch for Callaham’s story: “What if instead of burying the heart in the floorboards, it was inside someone’s chest!”

Okay, so it’s a little more complicated than that, but I’m guessing that’s what most people who write off this surprisingly solid thriller are going to say.  What actually happens is after Terry (Josh Lucas) receives a life-saving heart transplant he soon discovers that his new ticker booms like a subwoofer in a nightclub whenever he approaches certain strangers.  When he gets near them his head throbs in sync with the pounding of his heart and a nearly uncontrollable anger begins to take him over…

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