My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To (2020) Poster

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This is a very unique and well done movie
kevin_robbins12 March 2022
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell it To (2020) is a movie my wife and I recently watched on Prime. The storyline follows a brother and sister with a sick younger brother who needs to drink blood to survive. They'll go to extreme measures to find and extract the blood; meanwhile, the brother feels his world is too small and wants to expand his circumstances...

This movie is directed by Jonathan Cuartas in his directorial debut and stars Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl), Ingrid Sophie Schram (Phantom Thread), Owen Campbell (Super Dark Times) and Katie Preston (Vagina Town).

This is a very unique and well done movie. The characters and circumstances draw you in and Campbell does a fantastic job of being eccentric. His mannerisms were perfect and every time he drank blood I cringed a little bit. The cast really does a great job depicting the characters inner struggles with the circumstances. The action scenes in this are very good. The screwdriver scene was well done and you find yourself feeling worse and worse for Campbell the entire film. The ending was smart and I loved how the film concluded.

Overall this is a well put together picture that's worth your time. I would score this an 8/10 and strongly recommend it.
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Metaphor for Caretaking the Dying
aarpcats31 January 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Adult siblings Dwight and Jessie take care of their sick, teenaged brother Thomas in a house on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. Thomas needs fresh blood to survive and depends on his brother and sister to provide it for him.

Over time, Thomas's affliction traps all three of them in an endless cycle of murder and suffocating loneliness. They all want to be someplace else. They all want companionship and love, but duty to the family prevents them from leaving.

As a horror movie, the film has no jump scares or creepy monsters. People looking for bared fangs and disemboweled bodies probably won't like this film.

As a metaphor for caring for a dying family member, however, the film underscores a terrifying reality and culturally unacknowledged reality. The efforts made to keep a terminally ill loved one alive crush the hopes and dreams of the caretaker. Each day spent in the arms of death with the dying is a day away from life. The caretaker gives up his life for the person who is dying, until the dying person dies.

The hardest part of this reality is that caretaking is done out of love. It typically isn't paid labor, but in fact drains the pocketbook. The heart of the dying person can't beat without the caretaker, and every beat costs the caretaker a beat of his own. In this situation, the afflicted feels like a burden and can't die fast enough. The caretaker is overwhelmed with guilt for wanting him to.

Jonathan Cuartas, the film maker, does a brilliant job of reinforcing the terror with the sets. When the characters are outside in the daylight, beautiful Utah is green and bursting with life. When the characters are inside the house, it is dark, oppressive and suffocating. It's always Christmas inside the house, but we don't know whether the tree is supposed to be comforting or someone could not bring himself to take it down. The only music and sound comes from an organ, which no one knows how to play.

There's also a strong subtext here about trying to escape the weight of the LDS Church in Utah, which is brought home when Dwight refuses to kill a young blond boy after murdering drifters and immigrants. And, when Dwight stands at the Great Salt Lake with all his freedom, the look on his face says he doesn't know what to do with it.

Anyway, I liked the film.
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Thought you said this was a shelter
begob8 July 2021
Three thrifty siblings have a special need that forces them into a gruesome trade in society's cast-offs.

Downbeat drama of troubled co-dependency that kept me engaged all the way. There are many quiet scenes, with the characters sometimes barely responsive to each other, but directed and edited with expertise so that the whole thing flows, with help from excellent cinematography and score. Performances too are excellent, so a toast all round - a beaker of blood, my good man!

But it's a light-touch horror, and tending more to the survivalist genre, which I think is a peculiarly American phenomenon, one I don't really get. I prefer a horror to have a weird narrative that maps onto common struggles and fears, so that the extravagance leads to a hidden truth about our place in life. This is too straight a story, and even with its unanswered questions seems strangely plausible in the lonesome alienation of the mid-west.

Overall: Quality production, but not sure horror was the right way to go.
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A misunderstood piece of dirty indie cinema
TuesdayThe17th18 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Reminiscent of the Larry Fessenden produced "The Transfiguration", this movie begins towards what is the climax of what must have been years of a very sad family story. Three siblings hole up in a dingy old house while the older two take drastic measures to care for their younger brother. There is nothing explained here and there aren't any answers. Sometimes this layer of mystery makes for some of the most deep seated horror films I have seen. I always enjoy watching Patrick Fugit in anything he is in and this was no exception. It seems these days that every actor , especially indie actors, get their time to shine in a horror film and this was Fugit's moment. In my opinion he was great.

This is a cheaply made film and there aren't many big thrilling moments but all of it is interesting. It's a quiet film with sudden bursts of noise that somewhat seep into you as they are effective in the sense that these characters must really be feeling some serious emotions in order to get so loud after being so quiet.

The silence and noise are equally effective. Like in real life.
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Enjoyable and unusual.
jcooloti4 September 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I really liked this movie, but I'll be honest in saying that I believe it is in dire need of a stronger climax. The climax kind of fizzled out... it's not that it's bad, I realize what they were going for... it's just not really strong enough in my opinion. Still, this unusual film kept me pretty captivated with great acting and beautiful cinematography.

The cinematography is definitely the strongest thing going for this movie in my opinion. The scenes in nature are amazing. The choice of lenses are fantastic. Was this shot in film rather than digital? It sure seemed like it... It's a great looking movie with a really great color palette. The set design was minimal but the locations and buildings were chosen very wisely. It just looked great.

I also found the acting to be top notch. It has to be when dealing with this kind of story where suspending your disbelief is a MUST if you're going to enjoy it. The Spanish speaking immigrant was really fantastic. That guy truly seemed as scared as he should be and have an awesome performance in my opinion.

I found the plot to be very metaphorical. And even though the ending wasn't strong enough to my liking, I definitely felt what the director and writer wanted me to feel with this film's conclusion... the freedom that comes with the having survived what you always knew to be inevitable... and feared the most. I only wish that I felt that fear more during the climax. I wanted it to be more emotional during the parts that are meant to hit hard, but all that violence didn't really shock me as much as it was maybe meant set out to. The final decision made at the end also kind of felt like it came out of nowhere... (-SPOILER ALERT- I would have had the big brother just mercy kill him against his will... THAT would have made a much better climax in my opinion... A sort of homage to Of Mice and Men if you will...)

Still, I found this film to be very much above average. I'd definitely give it a 9 or 10 had the climax been a little more solid, but I can live with the 8.

One final note... all these poor reviews on here are written by people that that are addicted to junk. I enjoy junk films as much as the next person but thus film isn't junk. It's a serious movie. I would barely call it a horror film. It leans more on the drama side. If you enjoy heavy drama and have a taste for the macabre, you'll probably enjoy this movie as much as I did.
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Not an action horror flick
txenergyattorney23 January 2022
Dark, sad storytelling. Not for the viewer looking for Jason, Freddy, Dracula or Frankenstein. No instant gratification, nor are you spoon fed all aspects of the story. A dark contemporary drama that explores what sacrifices may be made and how far family might go for a sick loved one. Truly horrific.
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atractiveeyes25 June 2021
It is a unique original horror film that is very beautifully written and shot. It has a really catchy idea that is both creepy and heartbreaking. It is so simple yet it has a very creepy atmosphere without any forced efforts. Performances are superb. If you're into indie horrors then My Heart Can't Beat Until You Tell It To is a must see.
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Weird, sad movie. :(
midnitepantera31 August 2021
Decent acting, trippy story, but just really kinda sad. There were sympathetic characters and makes you wonder: How far would you go to save someone you love?? Worth a 1 time watch if you like this genre.
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Critics and Ravers are both Correct
captainpass23 September 2021
So, viewers seem to either despise or love this offering. I come down somewhere in the middle. The idea here is interesting: a "realistic" family of siblings that have a special circumstance within their midst; and dealing with that circumstance becomes a practical and emotional burden that is increasingly intolerable for everyone.

This is a low budget offering. To that end, the acting is (mostly) suitable for a film that is more about rumination than explanation or action. The camera work is also suitable for a film that takes place (mostly) inside.

However, I also agree that pacing is a major issue here. The pregnant pauses, the controlled meter and inflection of the dialogue, the lingering camera shots - at times each of these can seem excessive. My other complaint was that, for a realistic-style movie, there were some real television-style cliches here (for example, two of the potential victims escape only to be found again under circumstances that can only exist on celluloid).

I think the director may have been aiming for something like "A Girl Walks Home Alone" or "Martin" or maybe even Herzog's 1979 "Nosferatu the Vampyre." It never quite gets up to that level; but if you enjoy a more psychological or emotional approach to the vampire genre, this might work for you.
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It's as depressing and bleak as it can get
gedikreverdi9 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I like slow horror films so the pace wasn't a problem for me but if you're not used to films with almost glacial pacing, then it might bore you. Dwight and Jessie need to kill to provide fresh blood for their teenage vampire little brother Thomas. They target the most vulnerable people such as prostitutes, immigrants and homeless. Thomas acted up and threw a paper airplane to the young people passing by. Next day one of those guys showed up to see if Thomas was ok because Dwight took him inside by covering him with a blanket and the boy saw this. Dwight his the kid in the closet but Jessie found him and got stabbed by him. Dwight went on his car to find him and let him free after seeing he was living all alone with his father. He was lonely too and he was seeing a prostitute regularly to talk (and his sister killed her) so he could relate. Then he came back and saw his sister in blood in the bathtub. He buried her in the yard like the others and left. But he couldn't leave his little brother so he came back and Thomas wanted him to uncover the window (it was covered with cardboard) and moved out of the state like he'd dreamed of with that prostitute. It was as bleak and depressing as a vampire flick can get and was very slow and I really enjoyed it. Thomas' and Jessie's actings were really good.
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Fun watch
pdg-5562520 March 2022
I enjoyed it. It was obvious what was happening but it still left a lot to the imagination re: the story. A modern twist on an old tale. Good acting also.
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Grossly entertaining and Painfully educating
avindugunasinghe10 July 2021
Warning: Spoilers
You are doomed when you can't give up. Movie's tone of visual sets our mind on the grief collected by each individual sibling to their existence. The indefiniteness of three siblings is skillfully portrayed by the cast. I think story represent much common and painful dilemma. I think the blood thirst of Thomas represent a problematic addiction and how it eventually devour their already sad and hardly surviving family.

Jessie represt the motherly figure who don't stop at nothing to provide and keep the fam together also the one who sacrificed all herself in her mission. Dwight is the one who is shoved the man of the house responsibility upon himself who is living in-between the reality and fantasy. Thomas being the needy and fragile. And tragically as inevitable it is the fragile and worn-out meet the destined ends creating the way out for the dreamer and wayfarer. Afterall sticking to the mid avenue is the way.
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Fundamentally flawed!
Dougmd197427 June 2021
Warning: Spoilers
It's sort of a story about a teenage vampire. Problem is, there's literally no need for his family to kill people for blood so the guy could "eat". Bloodletting is a real thing and it doesn't require murder. This fundamental flaw really made the movie hardly believable and relatively pointless. Because of this concept issue, I wouldn't recommend this movie and wouldn't watch it again. The acting is relatively believable and the cinematography is good, otherwise it would have received a lower rating from me.
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andie-879593 August 2022
This film is dark and depressing yet so satisfying.

Nothing scary and no "jump scares" in this one its pure acting that makes it such a good film. They all deserve awards because I felt everything they felt.... incredible talent is an understatement. Perfection.
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Another worst horror film! Full of boring conversation, and annoying overuse scene! Avoid at all freaking cost!
kwenchow17 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
This film start with two men talking in the car, and they arrive at a house scene! As turnout, this film is about two siblings(Dwight, and Jessie) need to feed their vampire brother(Thomas) with human blood! Entire film full of boring conversation, and annoying overuse scene! Such as, overuse of the driving scene, overuse of the song playing at the background scene, overuse of the watching TV scene, overuse of the eating scene, overuse of the drinking blood scene, overuse of the staring scene, overuse of the playing music instrument scene, overuse of the walking scene, overuse of the searching scene, overuse of the calling names scene, overuse of the arguing scene, and overuse of the open door scene! Make the film unwatchable! At the end, after Jessie died, Dwight refuse to take care Thomas, and leaving him! That's it! Wasting time to watch!
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westsideschl31 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Start with overhead view of car on road - almost always a sign of cheap forthcoming.

Three siblings one of whom is frail to the point of near death. Never explained why the frail one is a vampire (i.e. Needs human blood; avoids sunlight). Duh, ever hear of a blood bank or hospital storage? Why not pig whose blood is nearly identical? Why live in sunny Salt Lake? Most screen time is within the house, and every so often a victim is brought in to be drained. A poor job of that as it seems they only get a quart or so. Film cheaply only shows a poor cosmetically made up post death victim. One near victim escapes; inexplicably comes back. Cheap ending.
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I gave it a 3 only for the failed effort
diane_berger28 June 2021
This movie is incredibly boring and gross. To be honest I watched the first 50 minutes (I believe it's a proof of endurance) and, since I was bored to death up till then, I gave it up. Not worth your time, much less your money. This is one of those examples of bad movies that, for some reason (lobbying, networking) get way too high ratings that are not deserved. It's a low budget, slow movie, lacking any plot or element that might get you to relate to or keep you entartained. The actors look and act like they were highly sedated before undertaking their jobs.
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Not a horror
pigsrings18 March 2022
This movie would've received better public reviews if they listed it as a dark family drama and not horror. Misleading rating has made this film recurve much lower rating than it should. It's slow, but intriguing and thought provoking. Oh and it's sad and dark. I enjoyed it but need to watch a comedy after because it's filled with sadness and left me feeling the same.
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GREAT for an indie style movie. We do not regret the purchase.
tobius-7482115 August 2021
My fiancé and I watched this on a whim after watching the preview. We really feel that a lot of these negative reviews are coming from people who more appreciate the common horror tropes such as fast paced plots, over the top gore, and fast paced plot driven dialog.. Definitely a movie that doesn't spoon feed or shove plot down your throat. It makes you think and relies on the viewer putting themselves in the characters shoes, and in such is very subtle and artistic.

Major props to AAALLLLLLL of the actors/actresses. They did a great job while still being subtle and not over the top as with most major motion pictures these days. Owen Campbell was especially delightful in his ability to actually portray someone who is heart breakingly dependant on his family, displays a child like innocence... yet at the end... is simply a tragic character. Keep up the good work sir!! Shame on you all who rated this diamond in the rough low.

Also props to the director. Showing juuuust enough... but not so much as to be vulgar or obscene in any horror movie genre cliches. The cinematography/shots were very well done and the plot/writing was juuusssstttt right for the feel of the film and the subject matter.

Overall this was an excellent movie that was subtle and thoughtful, yet emotional and thought provoking.

Do yourself a favor... just watch it.
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Stylish, relatable, not for the faint of heart
pamelaseniza31 July 2021
I really dug this film. As someone with plenty of family burdens I found the characters super relatable and the acting consistently engaging. The aesthetic is moody and nostalgic, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the direction is spot-on. A worthwhile story told with style and depth.
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Interesting only for acting and production quality
jmbovan-47-16017326 February 2022
This is a well made small indie film, but overall plotting is minimal with only one thing possible to happen, and there is slow movement to get there at the end of the film. The production expertly captures this very small confined family well. And the three main actors do well with embodying the opposing motivations inherent in the situation of their family. The failure of this film how small overall focus of the film is. The stage is set for progression on the one point, and ultimately this is very small point foreshadowed by the nature of the film itself. I was disappointed with the outcome being given the potential it has.
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Slow, depress and of course boring
davidmeth30 June 2021
Hypster movie 100% trying to be edging and special with a long *** title I knew this was going to be pure **** and it was.... long slow and pointless...
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Don't waste your time
jacobmeudt8 August 2021
I love slow movies, but they must keep my interest. This movie was just plain boring and could not keep my interest.

I don't need or want to have every question I have answered when watching a movie, but you have to give me something and this movie gave me nothing.

I was disappointed that I wasted an hour plus of my life watching this.
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Human care a vampire
ks-6050018 July 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I would say it's one of special vampire movie. Quite didn't get to the point til 2nd half and the name of movie is confusing to audience. Turn out is a surprise.
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jonvincent8027 June 2021
Omg this bored me for 30 minutes and had to turn it off so slow and rubbish. Don't waste your time.
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