The Tank: Review
The Tank: Review. By Rudie Obias
The horror genre is one of the best ways for filmmakers to make something good and exciting for a very small budget. It’s also a way to get really creative and inventive to solve story problems during the screenwriting phase of production. A good writer and director can make the most out of any movie genre, but there’s something special about horror movies that lends itself to pushing against norms. However, when clichés and cheap scares get in the way, all of that good will just goes away. Unfortunately, The Tank suffers from the trappings of the horror genre without any bang or surprise.
Written and directed by Scott Walker (The Frozen Ground) and set in 1978, The Tank follows a young family and pet store owners in Oakland, California going to a small coastal town called Hobbit’s Trail in Oregon after the patriarch Ben (played by Matt Whelan) inherits a secret large plot of land and a small cabin in the woods after the death of his mother. However, his wife Jules (played by Luciane Buchanan) and daughter Reia (played by Zara Nausbaum) have apprehensions about the cabin once a mysterious prehistoric creature is discovered in its water tank. After reading this brief description of this movie, it’s very likely you can tell where this is going.
The Tank is a very serviceable horror movie that’s perfectly suited for late night streaming. If this movie was on cable, you’d stop to watch it for 15 minutes or so, but then go to the next channel during the commercial break and never think about it again. It’s pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to genre elements like gags and scares, while it’s also ho-hum when it comes to any drama, conflict, or character development.
The story is wrapped in a puzzle pieces plot where the characters have Ben’s dead mother’s diary that they found at the cabin, so the film is peppered in with flashbacks that feel like Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. However, there’s a mystery about the sudden deaths of Ben’s father and sister during the mid-’40s and a lot of the answers to it (and the creatures that lurk beneath) are in Ben’s mother’s diary. But the characters never think to just skip to the date of his sister’s death. C’mon. That’s just bad writing.
The one shining element from The Tank that is completely worth a watch is the performance of Luciane Buchanan. She’s absolutely magnetic! Buchanan’s screen presence is something to notice, but, unfortunately, she isn’t helped by the movie itself. The film reaches the mark of “serviceable at best” because of Luciane Buchanan, who is someone to note.
All in all, The Tank won’t surprise you. It won’t scare you. But will have some moments of effective tension and atmosphere, but will ultimately disappoint you—despite the performance of Buchanan. It just seems that there’s nothing left in the tank for this one.
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