Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Warning: Contains minor spoilers
Has anyone ever noticed that creature features tend to have basic titles? For example, The Pool, Crawl, and Prey. The latest addition is the recently released horror/mystery thriller The Tank. The film was directed and written by New Zealand director Scott Walker (The Frozen Ground) and was shot entirely in New Zealand.
The main story is set in the year 1978 and opens with a happy couple Jules (Luciane Buchanan) and Ben (Matt Whelan) who own a financially struggling pet store and have a young daughter named Reia (Zara Nausbaum). Jules is in the process of finishing her studies in veterinary medicine. Suddenly, Ben learns that he has inherited an old, abandoned property located in a remote coastal area in Oregon. The mystery here, however, is the fact that Ben’s mother, who just recently passed away, had never mentioned the existence of this property to him. But the family quickly chalk it up to the fact that Ben’s mother suffered from a long-term mental illness. Almost immediately the family sets off to inspect the mysterious property and finds out that it had been abandoned for quite a long time. And it comes with a magnificent view of the entire coast, backyard access to the beach, and a gigantic water tank.
From their very first night things begin to go bump in the night as Reia’s sleep gets interrupted by creepy scratching and growling noises coming from beneath the floorboards and around the outside of the dilapidated house. The discovery of strange amphibian-like larvae in the mysterious water tank and a secret diary owned by Ben’s mother begins to put the pieces together slowly. The director does a clever job of protecting the identity of his creature by just feeding the audience little peeks here and there until the ultimate, petrifying reveal. Praise should be given for the excellent special effects work done for the creature. The special effects were helmed by award-winning special effects director Richard Taylor (King Kong <2005> and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. With a title like The Tank, you’d half expect the monster to look like a poor CGI design out of a SyFy special feature. Thankfully, it doesn’t and is menacingly creepy enough when you see it in full action.
However, cheesy flashbacks and bland interactions between the already-minute cast almost derail the entire film. Moments that would have given rise to conflicts between most couples lacked intensity and dramatic flair that would have been able to add substance to the already simplistic storyline. And while the atmosphere does manage to ramp up just enough tension and suspense, it ultimately failed to elicit good old-fashioned scares.
The film does manage to hike up the momentum sufficiently in the third act and it turns out to be some of the best scenes of the entire film. Actress Luciane Buchanan is brought to the forefront and shines as the heroine of the family as she exhibits bravery and resourcefulness with her powerful performance during the film’s final moments. And if the audience pays close attention, they are able to observe the obvious inspirations pulled from the iconic science fiction horror Aliens.
The Tank ultimately teases a possible future (check out the after-credits scene) and it’s not an impossible venture, but there’s a lot that needs to be improved if there are to be any future successful installments.
Alice’s Score: 5 out of 10
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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More