Mr. Edward, the insomnia-suffering protagonist, fantasizes about murdering his obnoxious landlord. From poisoning his coffee to bashing his head in a hedge trimmer, the neurotic tenant runs the ghastly gamut. His sleep-deprived neurosis blurs the lines between fantasy and reality when the police show up at his door questioning him about the crime. A retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s ”The Tell-Tale Heart,” Oysters & Pearls delivers its own twist on the classic suspense story.
Director Saul Herckis and his crew have created an entertaining and highly stylized short which benefits from its post-production animation effects. In the vein of A Scanner Darkly, this rotoscope-styled thriller runs just over fourteen minutes and could have easily retained its intrigue for twice that. The interminable voiceover that runs throughout the film compliments the lead character’s mental state and adds to the disjointed narrative.
Each of Oyster & Pearls’ four actors delivers noteworthy performances. The first is Craig Sawyer who plays the blood-hungry lead. His depiction of mental slippage should be commended as well as his delivery of the aforementioned voiceover. Second and third, are Victor Fischbarg and Jackson Bond Jr. who play the two no-nonsense officers. In particular, Bond’s penetrating stares are a highlight of the film. But it’s Herckis, as the one-eyed landlord, who steals the spotlight. His tracksuit, chains, and accent should be enough to drive the character into cliché but it never happens. Herckis plays the comic relief with skill. But as funny and interesting as his character is, Herckis’ humor led to the film’s worst section: the unneeded blooper reel during the end credits. It was unwelcome in Rush Hour 3, and here it’s just distracting and tired.
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