This post contains spoilers for “Heart Shot”, because I literally cannot review this without spoiling it. It’s only 15 minutes. Go watch it and come back.
“Heart Shot” is a short film currently on Netflix about two high school aged girls who are dating and get to spend three whole days alone together after one set of their parents goes out of town for the weekend. At first it seems like it’s just going to be a cute gay romance. I started watching it because it looked like a cute gay romance and I love cute gay romance, especially when it centers around teens who get to be out and happy and in love while in high school. I think that’s super cool and seeing that representation on screen is huge for kids who are questioning their identities.
Halfway through the film twisted.
I guess I should have expected this given that the title is Heart Shot. There’s a whole article about what this title means, but honestly I think it’s just a play on Lovestruck / Heartsick but with guns and shooting.
Just as one of the girls, Nikki, is writing her breakup note and sneaking out the back door of her girlfriend’s house, two men jump out from behind the corner with guns. Nikki ends up SHOOTING BOTH OF THEM and then running, getting herself involved in a massive shootout where she kills (by my count) upwards of four people. It turns out her family is part of some fighter gang, and her sister was sent to fetch her and bring her back to the family. Oh, and while she’s at it, she’s planning on killing the girlfriend, Sam.
A dramatic hand to hand combat scene ensues, and the sister ends up kidnapping Sam rather than killing her. That’s when we find out that Nikki’s breakup note said “I love you”. There was a lot of tension earlier because Sam said she loved her and Nikki was just silent, so I like how they gave us closure on that detail. Nikki was scared because she was putting Sam in danger, and she knew that Sam deserved better!
Unfortunately for our lovesick couple, Nikki didn’t act fast enough and Sam got put in pretty extreme danger anyways.
I loved this short. The beginning where the couple was in love and happy and cuddling was absolutely adorable and it felt real to me. Their relationship felt lived in and I believed in the love that these characters said they shared. When the action started to happen, it was a tad bit unrealistic maybe but I just leaned into the drama and enjoyed it. Plus I love a good sibling hero/villain saga- I have been watching Batwoman, after all.
Some of the negative Letterboxd reviews say that this felt like the pitch for a longer movie that didn’t get picked up, and in some ways I agree. The ending left things unresolved and it set itself up for another two hours worth of content where Nikki fights to get Sam back. But I still think this worked as a short film. It gave us enough context on the relationship that we were able to root for Nikki even when her family was doing terrible things and we just wanted Sam to be happy and get her cat. One of the hardest part of shortform cinematography is making us feel for the characters in that short of a time, and Marielle Woods achieved that wonderfully.
I wanted to write this review not because I had a ton to say about the short, but because I loved it and since it’s on Netflix it’s pretty easily watchable, so I needed to tell you all to head over and watch it. So go do that, and let me know in the comments what you think!