Why You Should Be Excited For This New Zealand Creature Feature
We’ve all had to do our own plumbing every once in a while. Sometimes, the fix is easy. A leaky faucet may need a nut tightened or some replacement tubing. Other times, you might have to replace an entire fixture due to mineral build-up. If you’re really unlucky, sometimes fixing a leak in one area will send it to another. In the case of 2023’s The Tank, you may end up unleashing a horrible monster that ravages the rest of the household.
Writer and director Scott Walker, whose last feature film was 2013’s The Frozen Ground, returns with a distinct creature feature with plenty of New Zealand flair. It’ll be about a man named Ben and his family moving into an abandoned property after the passing of his mother, unaware that the area was kept secret from him for a good reason. We’ve got a while to go before it’ll be available to the public, leaving us plenty of time to get excited about its eventual release. Trust us — once you see some of the names attached to the project, you’re bound to feel pretty excited yourself.
The Creature is Designed By Richard Taylor
Every creature feature needs a good creature. They’re the star of the show, they’ll likely get a majority of the screen time, and in some instances, they’re a stand-in for what the movie is truly about. Without a good creature, you may as well scrap what you have and start production from the beginning. Thankfully, we can rest easy knowing who designed the monstrous creature for The Tank.
According to Bloody Disgusting, Richard Taylor and a team of effects artists from Peter Jackson’s Wētā Workshop designed the creature. Yes, the same studio that contributed effects to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, District 9, the Hobbit trilogy, Dune, and Peter Jackson’s King Kong will be responsible for bringing The Tank’s aquatic creatures to life. Richard Taylor, in particular, has a history of working with creature designs, miniatures, weapons, and even armor designs across a variety of film genres.
Of course, you may also recognize Wētā Workshop from their work before The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson is no slouch when it comes to the horror genre, and based on some of the graphic productions he put out before his big Hollywood hits, Wētā Workshop had to put some effort into their craft. Both Meet the Feebles and Braindead had their own armada of practical effects due to their over-the-top slapstick comedy. Whether it was the expressive animatronics in Meet the Feebles or the almost-sickening amount of blood and viscera in Braindead, Wētā Workshop has yet to fail when delivering the goods.
The Tank Has a New Zealander Cast
Much like how Wētā Workshop is firmly rooted in New Zealand, the cast of The Tank will also be predominantly made up of New Zealander actors. Matt Whelan will be playing Ben, who you may recognize from Netflix’s Narcos, a series loosely based on the real-life exploits of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. His wife, Jules, will be played by Luciane Buchanan, who had a two-season stint on Netflix’s The New Legends of Monkey, a reinterpretation of the Chinese novel Journey to the West.
Other cast members we can expect to see in The Tank include Graham Vincent (No Exit, Upgrade), Holly Shervey (American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story), Mark Mitchinson (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Ash vs Evil Dead), Ascia Maybury (Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away), Jack Barry (Shortland Street), and Zara Nausbaum in her horror debut.
The Tank Will Terrify You
While other creature features opt for having its monster take up the spotlight in broad, open spaces, The Tank is a direct counter to this. Based on the trailer, we can surmise that the creature will largely attack at night, retreating to the cramped, confined space of the water tank as its shelter. However, it’s not as if it appeared out of nowhere. The area was deliberately kept a secret from Ben until his mother’s passing brought it to light, meaning there may be some ulterior reasoning for keeping the thing locked away. Maybe it’s the product of science gone awry or a curse for some past misdeed. Either way, it’s not a comfortable place to be.
You can draw comparisons to The Descent, a similar creature feature set in a horrifyingly-claustrophobic tunnel network. It’s a film that utilizes the creatures in tandem with the setting, working on two entirely separate fears that brilliantly mesh together. We can only hope that The Tank will do something similar based on what we’ve seen so far. While trudging through waist-high water isn’t as necessarily as terrifying on its own, it’s a feeling a lot of us have felt in our worst nightmares. No matter how hard you move, you’re always being held back by an opposing force.
The Tank will receive a limited theatrical release starting Apr. 21 before heading straight to video-on-demand on Apr. 25.