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A Hearts Desire

by PlanetFoxFilms

Sirens come bearing treasures, to tempt a camper with their fishy pleasures.


Ah-maze-zing! Love your team’s dedication to makeup, and the film was shot splendidly, with an hilarious ending too! You guys just get better and better every year.

Loved your film. It was funny, cinematic, charming and well edited. It is so awesome seeing how far you guys have come as film makers. You make an amazing team. So proud!

Also.. Fish jail. So good.

When an isolated camper attracts the attention of a couple of seriously creepy looking magical creatures that have come up from the nearby camp lake, the dread factor kicks up a notch as they toy with her whilst baring their teeth.

Makeup here was absolutely fantastic. Honestly the atmosphere you created sent shivers down my spine, it was genuinely spooky and evocative, and I was pretty much on the edge of my seat when the 'be careful what you wish for' trope was laid bare. Performers sold the predator/prey so well, I thought to myself this is simply 48 Hours horror film I've seen in years. Placing in Christchurch for certain. Technically on point with an exceptional edit...

...And then that ending, for me, just undid the amazing previous 4 minutes or so of the film.

I mean look, I get it, you didn't want to make a generic horror film and there is every chance that come awards time you will be rewarded for your subversive choices here. It did still leave me with a feeling of mystery and wonder at the universe of the creatures you had created, but it just felt like I had got thrown off the rollercoaster a little bit early.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

I’m always excited to see what people do with horror. Horror is a really fun and super creative genre and more memorable than most. And my excitement is from what element the creators take and use to push their horror above the others.

The atmosphere and tone in this are stellar, with a great opening that sets us up for a well-paced slow-burn story.
The reveal of your creature is so well executed with us seeing very little and some fantastic make-up. His eyes and tone are a great decision and the luring way he talks to trick the character in is really stands out.
That reaction shot with the fog is great horror and the heart element was genuinely one of my favorites. I was having a great time getting into it and it’s quite different from both other entries this year and the team’s previous entries.

... but it all builds to an ending I feel really undermined the overall film. And it’s tough because I’m left 50/50. While the build-up and establishing of the world and characters are solid across the board, the makeup is perfect and the technical elements are top-notch, we’re left on an end decision that ultimately brings down the film and no longer makes the previous choices feel nearly as special as they were. And I’m also left confused with why suddenly a new joke character is introduced because I’m not sure where the hero element is, and it’s disappointing because the heart element is great, the invisible element is fine (it’s a tough one I know) but your hero element is confusing, was it this gag character at the end? But I totally get going the safer route of ending as a comedy and keeping to your roots, I’m just disappointed that I’m left wondering what could’ve been.

My god, the first few minutes of this film.

Rarely have I seen a horror film so effectively executed in my time involved with 48HOURS. PlanetFox Films nailed the look (crisp and clear even shooting in the dark), the feel (the lead monster's unsettling performance), and the tone (from the slopping hands at the start to the carefully observed sound design) of horror, which is difficult to achieve in a short film at all, let alone one made in 48 hours. The film draws you in, wondering what its curious protagonist will have to sacrifice in order to gain the delights offered by this river-dwelling beast...

...and then blinks.

I'm all for subverting genre, but the issue here is that SO much of the film is spent building SUCH a great atmosphere that the comic undercutting of the final minute or so is a serious letdown. The tone is shattered, and even the actual plot development sort of comes out of nowhere, uninformed by anything else earlier in the film. That's not to say that twist couldn't have worked - it just needed to be seeded a bit more earlier on. Maybe the tone could be broken for a couple moments here and there, or maybe the subversion could happen earlier, at the first "act" break, and the actual plot plays out in that comedic What We Do In The Shadows / Wellington Paranormal style the team was clearly gunning for. But with the structure as handed in, the comic shift lets the air out of the balloon, so to speak.

I know PlanetFox is all about the wild silly humour in their heavily practical horror films, but honestly the skill on display early here is such that they don't need to fall back on that familiar tactic. One day this team is going to win big - and they may very well scoop up some awards at the finals, in which the film assuredly will be playing - but they need to place greater confidence in their ability to craft genuinely unsettling horror, and as with many teams, stick that landing.

Completely invested in this from the start. Well established tone, solid performances and typical/expected PlanetFoxFilms make-up and character-design. The goblin/troll/creature here has the look of characters you've done before which is not a criticism at all! They're amazing!

But, yeah...that ending. Given what had happened leading up to it, it was certainly a surprise - so well done - but also a let down. A dark ending or even something ambiguous would have easily cemented this short as a strong contender to place in CHCH.

Loved it guys, the performances were spot on, totally creeped out by the water, you guys are dedicated.
I only half agree with others about the ending... Tbh I saw it coming, and don't mind the gear shift. Would have been cool to see it go full horror, but I'm not let down at all. Keep it up!

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