THE TENT **** USA 2020 Dir: Kyle Couch. 85 mins
In a post apocalyptic world after an event known as “the crisis”, David (Tim Kaiser) is surviving on his own in his tent in the woods. Keeping the all consuming mysterious creatures known as “Those Who Walk In Darkness” at bay by keeping his camp fire alight. One evening when checking his traps for animals he accidentally steps in a bear trap. Rescued by a young woman called Mary (Lulu Dahl) who takes him back to his tent to help him with his injuries and to try and persuade him they should work together and maybe they would stand a chance against the monsters. David on the other hand is not so sure of this plan, believing he was doing perfectly fine before Mary came along yet he can feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety and confusion seeping in.
Starting out as an average post apocalyptic survival movie with nods to recent movies such as A QUIET PLACE and BIRD BOX and creating a similar sense of quiet, creeping, atmospheric dread as these yet revealing itself to be something more powerful and emotive than just a run of the mill tribute. The whole scenario becoming a metaphor for something more real, powerful and obviously a condition director Kyle Couch is painfully familiar with. Amazing cinematography and made with precise attention to detail as well as maintaining a sense of dread by barely seeing the hidden creatures sitting just out on the periphery. It holds your attention and never quite lets you relax. Heavily dialogue driven Tim Kaiser and Lulu Dahl are both fantastic and take control of their characters only letting you see what they want you to see, when they want you to see it and building the reveal with well timed precision with truly heartbreaking moments. With a relatively small cast and crew they have produced a very haunting and emotive movie that does not need big action sequences and even though it contains very little blood it really does convey that sense of being scared, lost and hunted. As is always the case though, you can’t please everyone and I have read some unfavourable reviews stating that it is slow paced amongst other things which I completely disagree with. I found THE TENT engaging, heartfelt and really well made in every aspect well worthy of its success on the festival front.
Review by Sarah Budd