Dir. Scott Walker (2023)
A man and his family inherits a mysterious property on the coast of Oregon, where he accidentally unleashes an ancient being that has terrorized his family for generations.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Monster movies tend to have a quirk that I rarely see mentioned in critical pieces written about the genre but which I am particularly fascinated by. I pointed out this phenomenon in my review of Alligator, where one of the main characters of the film just happened to be one of the world’s leading herpetologists, who was especially valuable in fighting large alligators and just happened to be directly where she was needed in a film about large alligators. It’s difficult to imagine myself fighting a horde of, I dunno, flying squirrels while I just happened to be having lunch with the world’s foremost expert on flying mammals, but if I was in a creature feature, you can bet your sweet ass that I was dining with John Koprowski. He’s a world-renowned squirrel expert from the University of Wyoming, and yes, I do my research.
Anywho, we see that phenomenon rear its ugly head in The Tank, the new movie from WellGo that tells the story of a young family that finds themselves the inheritors of a huge estate, along with a private bay, along the beautiful coast of Oregon. Ben (Matt Whelan) grew up with a mother in an institution and a father who died in a car accident, except, spoiler alert, his dad was actually killed by the creature living in the water tank on his family estate. When Ben seeks to unclog the tank, he releases the creature and must fight for his family to escape the deadly amphibian and make his way to safety. Fortunately, his wife Jules (Luciane Buchanan) is an expert on amphibians, and knows some unique ways to find the monster.
The film is slow-moving, taking a while to set up the plot and featuring many asides where Ben’s family history is discussed to further the audience’s understanding of the situation that his family now finds themselves in. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, and it’s actually a fairly interesting part of the movie. The Tank does a good job of moving the plot along with rare sightings of the creature at the center of the drama, offering glimpses as it takes out a real estate agent and a cop while only coming into full focus during the climactic battle at the end of the movie. What the audience gets instead is some outstanding sound design, the near constant guttural growls doing a great job of putting the audience into the film. The isolated setting helps to increase the claustrophobic feeling that most monster movies aren’t able to achieve. The creature design isn’t half bad either, though it’s really only the last 15-20 minutes of the film where its really focused upon.
The film isn’t a half-bad creature feature, though it does struggle at times to find its footing. If you’re a monster movie fan, you could certainly do a whoooole lot worse. The characters make smart decisions throughout for the most part, and the lore is there for a potential sequel and beyond if the film finds success. While the monsters in the film are not as good as some bigger budget creatures, they’re definitely cool to look at and have some unique features that make them pretty rad. While WellGo isn’t one of the more well-known film producers, they make watchable stuff that are the perfect films to throw on when you don’t have anything you’re dying to see. Entertainment can be hard to come by, but you can rest assured that you’ll at least by entertained by their films.
Who this movie is for: Creature feature fans, Slow burn monster lovers, Location scouts
Bottom line: The locations are beautiful and the monsters are pretty rad, and you can’t ask for a whole lot more from a monster movie. The actors do a pretty decent job, and the sound design is phenomenal. It’s rare to see a monster movie where the characters are not making boneheaded decisions, and The Tank does a good job of avoiding those pitfalls (while still containing a lot of the creature feature tropes.) Give this one a watch if you love monster movies, because there are a bunch of shitty movies out there and this doesn’t happen to be one of them