tek's rating:

Dead Hearts (16:40)
Dread Central; Dust; Facebook (Crypt TV); IMDb; official site; Short of the Week; Stephen W. Martin; Vimeo; YouTube (Crypt TV)

This 2014 short film was presented by Crypt TV on Facebook in 2017 and YouTube in 2018. It was presented by Alter in 2021.

The film has a whimsical, storybook quality, with narration very reminiscent of Pushing Daisies (and pretty much no actual dialog). It's a dark film, involving death and... stuff. But ultimately it's a love story. There's a young boy named Milton Mulberry, who is a mortician, despite his young age. (He comes from a long line of morticians, and as far as I could tell, he's an orphan when the story begins, and apparently just inherited the family business.) And he's in love with a blind classmate named Lola Littleton (Dalila Bela, whom I know from Odd Squad), who is into both Kung Fu and taxidermy. There's another boy named Harold Henderson, who we're told is also in love with Lola, though I can't really imagine why. It makes sense for Milton to love her, but Harold? Not so much. He's just a bully, and he leads a group of other bullies who constantly beat up Milton. While wearing werewolf masks (or maybe that was just on Halloween). Then one day, Lola comes to Milton's rescue, wearing a mask of her own, and kicks all the bullies' asses with her mad Kung Fu skills. (During the fight, a song plays called Never Give Up, by SpecialThanks, which is awesome.) After that, Milton and Lola start spending a lot of time together, but circumstances eventually force her to move away. On that day, Milton's heart is broken, and he spends the rest of his life just waiting to die.

The story then flashes forward to Milton as an old man, but to say any more would be far too spoilery. (I've also left out some cool details from the first part of the film.) But I just gotta say, this movie started out kind of... meh, I didn't know if I'd like it or not. I nearly stopped watching it, early on. But it didn't take too long for it to get good. Probably the first time we see Lola doing show-and-tell in class was when I got my first clue that I was going to like it, but the fight scene that came later cemented my love of the film. And from that point on, it just kept being awesome.

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