On May 2nd, 1946, during a wild storm, we see a family fast asleep in their home. Mysteriously, the father of the house goes outside and lifts an opening in the ground, only to be taken by something. From this, we jump to Oakland, California, in 1978. Jules and her husband, Ben (Matt Whelan), run a pet shop called Raining Cats and Dogs, and their finances have seen better days. The bank is now sending them stern letters. Jules and Ben also have their daughter, Jodie (Jaya Beach-Robertson), hang around the store while they work, as they can’t even afford a sitter.
As Ben tries to close the store after a day of trade, a man walks in, wanting to speak to the family about Ben’s mother, who passed away a few months ago. The man is reviewing past cases and discovers an old deed confirming that Ben’s mother owned some coastal property in Oregon, dating back to 1935. The man also reveals new details relating to the death of Ben’s father, which is different from what Ben was told as a young child. Legally, the property now belongs to Ben and his family. They decide to take a long drive, inspect the property, and consider what they will do next.
As the family arrives at the property, there’s no denying it—the house is reasonably rundown and old. But Ben and Jules see potential, even more so when they discover the incredible beach view behind the home. Ben also finds a loose square in the ground and opens it up, claiming it must be some water tank. The family decides to move into the house and take the time to renovate it. However, this family will soon find something lurking in the tank underground—something big and monstrous.
The Tank is best described as a horror and thriller film. It shines the strongest when it focuses on the concept of a mysterious creature lurking around. I adored the film’s location, which is set mostly in an old house. The film is quite dark, which is a nice touch. The creature’s design is great, but, granted, the general look feels slightly familiar.
However, The Tank does drown in a few problems. Throughout the film, we witness characters wandering around the house, trying to understand what’s happening underneath the ground and keeping the monster hidden for a good portion. It’s relatively evident and apparent to audiences that something monster-like is underground, meaning we are forced to watch the leads be baffled. As a plot, the mystery surrounding the monster is most exciting. Still, the film also introduces subplots surrounding a deep dark secret from past generations, which sadly didn’t heighten the story. Instead, it felt more weighted down and uninteresting. Characters’ choices are not always agreeable, and as a horror, the attempted jump scares didn’t work and felt more childish and forced.
Overall, The Tank carries a great concept with a few solid ideas for horror fans and those seeking a mysterious creature film. While somewhat familiar, the creature design is excellent, and the tone and setting for most of the duration are also fantastic. But sadly, this film is burdened by characters who make baffling choices and a side mystery that lacks excitement. The most entertainment this film offers is the mysterious creature lurking around and its creation. However, any other subplot relating to secret family history didn’t ignite well as a storyline. Jump scares are also forced, childish, and never land a decent shock or fright. The Tank will provide many a solid evening of joy, but for me, it didn’t quite reach its full potential.
The Tank (2023) is Now Available to Rent or Buy from June 28th on Apple, Amazon, Google/YouTube, Microsoft, Foxtel, Fetch & Telstra.