16th Jul2020

‘The Tent’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tim Kaiser, Lulu Dahl, Shelby Bradley, Christine Marie, Jeannine Thompson, Jeff Kaiser, Timmy Kaiser | Written and Directed by Kyle Couch

An apocalyptic event known as The Crisis has devastated David’s world leaving him to rely on survival tactics learned from childhood. Isolated and alone, David has taken refuge in a tent on the edge of the wilderness. Soon enough, another survivor emerges, Mary, who immediately begins questioning David’s tactics and ultimately putting them in the crosshairs of “Those Who Walk In Darkness”, unseen creatures that may or may not be responsible for The Crisis…

Billed as a thriller, with a synopsis that leans firmly into the area of horror/thriller monster movie, The Tent is actually none of those and all of those things at once. It’s also a film that, honestly, was a chore to get through – the myriad of flashbacks and the one-locale setting really relying on the performances of the films two leads and the script their working from. Both of which are OK. But they’re just that. OK.

Both Tim Kaiser, as David, and Lulu Dahl, playing Mary, both give solid performances but there’s no spark in their performances and both never feel like they’re committed to their role, which means at times it really does feel like they are merely going through the motions – something that spoils at lot of the early going for The Tent. Especially when the film hangs on the two to keep the audience invested in the film!

Then there’s the creatures of this creature feature. Unseen yet heard. Unheard yet seen. Writer/director Kyle Couch uses the very idea of creatures at the door (or in this case the zipper of the titular tent) to confuse and obfuscate. Are these creatures in David’s mind? Or are they real? If they aren’t real how come Mary’s “playing along” with David’s paranoia? At least that aspect of the film – what’s real and what’s not – holds your attention. But it’s still a slog to get through the films beginnings.

A cursory glance at Kyle Couch’s previous films on IMDb unfortunately, for me, allowed me to guess that not all within The Tent was as it seemed. His focus on religion, faith and the trials of the human spirt meant that the “unexpected twist” Couch obviously hoped to spring on the audience, was signposted well in advance. It’s a twist that – honestly – made up for the films foibles, explaining away some of the issues I had with the performances and script. Whether an audience will stick with The Tent to see the same is, unfortunately, debatable.

The Tent is available on digital now from Gravitas Ventures.

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