The Tent (2020)

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A man finds himself not alone in this post-apocalyptic thriller from writer/director Kyle Couch.

David is a man who has found himself for many years relying on one thing, his survival. The survivor of an event known as the Crisis, David’s only shelter is a tent at the edge of the woods. Things have been going well until one fateful night, he finds another survivor. Mary is a young woman who also has survived the Crisis and an incident leads to David accidentally getting shot. However, he is okay and warns Mary that she must leave in the morning.

However, as David attempts to convince Mary he is perfectly okay where he is, she is attempting to convince him that there’s more to life than just being in a tent. The reason is that Mary fears David’s methods of survival may put them in the cross hairs of those who were responsible for the Crisis. The ones responsible are creatures who walk in the darkness and are not seen. Can David and Mary work together to save themselves from the creatures or is something more in store for them?

From writer-director Kyle Couch comes this interesting take on the apocalypse subgenre of sci-fi film. There have been others such as I Am Legend and The Omega Man that meld action and drama quite well in this genre as well as the recent Impact Event. For this one, Couch takes a different approach to the mix, using a juxtaposition of what looks to be flashbacks and scenes that look to be in an alternate universe of sorts and while the concept sounds great, its execution could have improved.

That doesn’t take away the performances of leads Tim Kaiser and Lulu Dahl. Kaiser is great in the role of David, an embittered elderly man who has spent years in just a tent. The flashbacks show a young David (played by Timmy Kaiser) explaining the tactics of survival in this time of need. He has always felt this solitary existence until the arrival of Dahl’s Mary. Dahl is great as someone who feels like with his experience, David is needed to help with both his and her survival. The two spend much of the film in dialogue form at constant odds with each other for a good portion until the one-hour mark, where the creatures arrive and cause some trouble.

The film’s flashbacks work well, but it’s the other “scenes” that have that alternate universe feel to it is a bit confusing. They include David running into another survivor in the form of Gabriel, played by the film’s writer-director. As if that’s not crazy enough, the final 20 minutes of the film offer a twist that brings the film a bit of a step-up, despite its confusing execution.

The Tent has a great concept, but the execution does prove to be a bit confusing. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that we have some good performances by leads Tim Kaiser and Lulu Dahl, who make the most of the script.

WFG RATING: B-

A 1926 Pictures production. Director: Kyle Couch. Producer: Nancy Lynette Parker. Writer: Kyle Couch. Cinematography: Robert Skates. Editing: David Peterson.

Cast: Tim Kaiser, Lulu Dahl, Kyle Couch, Shelby Bradley, Christine Marie.

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