More than a teenage love story
Netflix released the short film Heart Shot earlier in February as part of their Emerging Filmmaker initiative. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, we’re here to help you figure out whether it’s worth the watch or if you should keep living your life and skip it.
The film is directed by Marielle Woods, who has two episodes of Cobra Kai under her director’s belt and the production of a variety of reality TV series like Auction Hunter, I Was Bitten and I’m Alive. The short film, a romance between two queer teens, is beautifully shot, and at times you feel like you’re inside the story watching everything happen from a distance. But, to call this a teen romance would be a misinterpretation of the action-filled plot twist that emerges towards the end of the short.
Nikki (Elena Hueze) and Samantha (Nia Sondaya) have fantastic chemistry on film. They give us all the annoying aspects of young love, genuinely making us believe in the love story between these two characters. In a scene, the two teens lay in bed talking about the future and what’s to come after high school. Samantha, doe-eyed and hopeful for the future, tells Nikki that she wants her to go away to Nashville with her; even if she doesn’t go to college, she can get a job. So, she builds up this happy ever after that Nikki doesn’t seem to believe possible.
From the beginning of the film, there’s a mystery surrounding Nikki, sometimes too obviously done. For example, the director or writer’s hand is too heavy when we see Nikki stuffing a gun into her bag after getting something to eat before heading to Sam’s house to spend the weekend with her since her parents are out of town. Coupled with the ‘mysterious’ soundtracks that plague the film when they want us to notice Nikki’s peculiar circumstances, the viewer is left to wish at times that things were a little more discreet and a bit more tasteful.
Things take a turn for the worst when the story reveals to us more about who Nikki might be while still leaving us with a million questions about what is happening and why. Heart Shot transitions from a teen love story to an action-filled thriller. Full of gunshots and questions, we wonder who Nikki is and will she and Sam make it out of this movie alive.
The film ends, and our questions are still not answered, and instead, we are plagued with more questions and no one to ask. Ultimately this is a short film with no resolution, which makes you question its plot; some might say it leaves you looking for more, and others might say the film feels unfinished.
Now, the question is, is it worth the watch? Absolutely! The short is less than 19 minutes long, and the initial story between these two characters is worth the watch. The tenderness between Sam and Nikki makes you reminiscent of young love, full of hope and danger. The direction of the film, though sometimes heavy-handed, is full of beautiful cinematographically shot scenes and the potential to be a fascinating film if expanded.
Check Heart Shot out here.