Film production company Hentai Cop states that their objective is “to deliver unique and engaging films that feature the highest quality practical body-horror special effects.” Their short film Computer Hearts only delivers on part of that promise.
Underemployed Albert has become obsessed with Vanessa, a character on an animated porn website. He spends more time having cybersex with her than he does engaging with his live-in fiancée. Eventually, his slacking gets in the way of his real-life relationship and the fiancée takes off, leaving Albert to be further seduced by Vanessa, whose intentions are less than pure. Eventually, Vanessa demands a pound of flesh – literally – so she can prove to Albert that she’s as real as any human woman, and in the process Albert turns into a horrible monster.
It’s difficult to sympathize with Albert’s plight, however. He gets angry at the slightest provocation and slams his fists so much that he comes across like a petulant child instead of an adult with real problems. We never even learn his fiancée’s name, which may be part of the point, but it just comes across as lazy writing. This renders Albert’s eventual transformation less than compelling, no matter how visually interesting it may be.
Although it takes a bit for them to show up, many of the practical effects in Computer Hearts are outstanding. The vaginal CPU looks like something out of Videodrome and there’s more than a little bit of Brundlefly in Albert’s cybernetic metamorphosis.
On the other hand, some of the effects – like silver body paint that signifies a melding of human and computer – end up looking amateurish compared to the Cronenberg-esque ones, and this undercuts the intended gut punch of the film’s horror.
The camera work does not do any of the effects justice. It is frequently shaky and out of focus, with close ups that look amateurish. The film’s framing and lighting is similarly poorly executed.
Narratively, Computer Hearts doesn’t tread any new ground. If you’ve seen Demon Seed, the aforementioned Videodrome, or even eXistenZ, you’ve encountered a more creative version of this idea.
If Hentai Cop can step up their game regarding scripts and cinematography, they might have something genuinely unique on their hands. As it stands, Computer Hearts just didn’t quicken my pulse.