Though not actually shot in Oregon, the New Zealand creature feature, The Tank, sure captures what the coast is like. Damn near the polar opposite of its southern neighbors in California, the Oregon Coast is generally gray, windy, damp and cold. An occasional tourist town notwithstanding, tree-covered mountains loom menacingly over every beach, making one feeling isolated from the rest of the world. And if you want to know what Jack Dalton felt like clinging to that raft at the end of Titanic, try taking a swim.
It’s actually the perfect setting for a horror film.
I don’t know if he’s ever actually been to Oregon, but writer-director Scott Walker exploits the setting quite well. When struggling pet store owners Ben (Matt Whelan) & Jules (Luciane Buchanan) learn he just inherited an old beach cabin from his dead mother, they load up the kid and head north. Even if the viewer was unaware The Tank was a horror film, the winding empty highway, towering trees, drab sky and dilapidated cabin foreshadow something bad is gonna happen…
|"We're getting a hotel room next time."
Additionally, the film is a little too deliberately paced. While the attempt at slow burn horror is admirable, numerous sequences that are obviously designed to create tension drag on much longer than necessary, or worse yet, end with an underwhelming false scare. A bleak tone and foreboding atmosphere are fine and dandy, but a little more beastly brutality would be nice, too.
Still, when these slimy critters do show up, they slaughter a few secondary characters while terrorizing the protagonists. The kills are vivid and bloody, while the monsters themselves are decent looking creations (and CGI-free!). Ultimately, The Tank is a bit too poky for its own good, but the exciting, violent climax is probably worth our patience. Plus, you get a taste of an Oregonian day at the beach.
FEATURETTES - “A Look into The Tank”; “Making the Creature.”