From writer and director Kyle Couch, the new apocalyptic thriller The Tent is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, consistently building up to a powerful ending that will stick with you for days. An end-of-days tale of survival set in a world that’s been ravaged by an event known as the Crisis, The Tent primarily follows the point of view of a lonely survivor living on his own in the seclusion of a tent hidden in the woods. On his own, the man has managed to get by just fine, but life as he knows it will change once again when a mysterious survivor shows up at his campsite to save his life.
Perhaps the brightest aspect of The Tent lies with its perfect casting. Although flashback sequences can provide glimpses into the lives of these characters beyond the Crisis, the story mostly unfolds through the interactions between David (Tim Kaiser) and Mary (Lulu Dahl). David, an outdoorsman skilled in hunting and other survival skills, believes he is best surviving on his own, even when he winds up injuring himself with one of his own animal traps. When Mary suddenly appears to assist him with getting back to his tent and tending to his wounds, David initially wants nothing to do with her, while also questioning her true intentions. While it’s hard to know exactly what’s happening early on into the story, Kaiser and Dahl make the situation feel very real with their believable performances.
Deliberately, The Tent holds back on revealing much information about the off-screen creatures behind the Crisis, leading viewers to spend the majority of the time wondering exactly what they are and what they’ve done to the rest of the world. This makes for some tense moments in the movie, but if you’re looking for a traditional monster story, you won’t find it here. The focus is not so much on these mysterious creatures, as they serve more as a backdrop for the characters discovering the true nature of the Crisis. In other words, The Tent is a compelling drama at its core as opposed to a traditional horror movie, so if you come in only looking for a gorefest, you might be disappointed.
The Tent is definitely one of those movies that will have you asking so many questions until the very end, when suddenly things become much more clear. I’m not quite sure it managed to convey the true terror of the creatures from the Crisis that are mostly unseen, but they really just serve as a small part of the main story.
By the conclusion, all of the questions I had were answered perfectly, though it was done in a way that was far more riveting than what I expected. Dare I say, it was emotionally devastating, and I will say that was not at all the feeling I thought I’d be walking out with when I first began watching The Tent. Just don’t go in expecting something like Saw VI and you might find yourself moved by the compelling story. The Tent is now available On Demand and you can also pre-order the DVD now from Target.
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