Hello people of the internwebs! It is I, Rick! As you already know I was not on SSWL episode 61. I really wish I was, but due to complications (roommate decided to invite everyone over to party and not invite me) I had to sit that episode out alone in my closet of a room. But that won’t stop me from giving you my review of the short film Tell by Ryan Connolly.
Tell has been in the works for Ryan since the beginning of his internet show Film Riot. For three years it has been talked about and fans of Film Riot have been waiting to see it. When it finally went up on his site, we, the fans, broke his servers….twice! Now, on to the review.
The movie starts with an extremely heated argument between Taylor (Todd Bruno) and Jenny (Shana Eva). As the argument continues to increase, Taylor walks away from Jenny, heads to his car, pops the trunk, grabs a hammer, and kills Jenny off camera. We find out that this short film is inspired by Edger Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. What Ryan does with his 30 minute short film surpasses most of what modern movies have forgotten, which is the visual aspect rather than just relying on dialog. For example, the movie Drive comes to mind. Of course that had a great actor like Ryan Gosling to execute it phenomenally, but just like Drive, Ryan had two great leads for the part, Todd Bruno and Shana Eva.
Ryan first introduced us to Todd Bruno’s acting style in his other short film Losses (shot on the RED Epic). As much as I enjoyed Losses, I wasn’t a fan of Todd’s. However, after watching Tell, I was blown away by his stellar acting. Just like what Gosling did with his character as “Driver” Todd did with Taylor. I was intrigued with how Taylor was going to get out of the bloody mess he made and it was all done with very little dialog. Jenny, like Mike mentioned on the podcast, she had something about her that kind of threw me off. It was something about the way she was talking and Mike hit the hammer on the thumb when he mentioned how she ends her sentences. I wouldn’t say she was monotone, but she just sounded off. Everything else she does after that was terrifying. I am not going to lie, I was a little afraid to leave my room. Shana Eva was an excellent corpse and the hauntingly eerie score added to it.
The score from Daniel James was pitch perfect. It seems like Ryan took his time to find the perfect fit for the style he was going for with the film. The score felt like a hybrid love mixture of Daniel Licht (Dexter), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill) and Hans Zimmer. It gave just enough suspense and uneasiness that it locked you and the character in the moment throughout the entire film. If you’re a score hound like I am, then you must pick up the soundtrack. It will give you a warm comfy feeling in your heart.
Ryan Connolly and his crew on the film did a fantastic job, especially when you consider the thin mint size budget. Nice and chocolatey, with a visual freshness taste in your eye holes.