Heather decides that the perfect way to begin her day off of work is to start with a scenic jog through the local State Park before she meets her friend for coffee. Everything seems nice and normal, assholish biker notwithstanding. Or, at least it is until she encountered…The Tent.
Look at it. Sitting there all innocent like…the bastard.
The Tent (not to be confused with the 2020 feature film) is a 2019 horror short by Rene Rivas Productions, located in Flagstaff Arizona. Rivas is best known for his other short, The Spirit of Haddonfield, which provides an alternate angle to the original Halloween tale. Continuing to draw upon his love of early horror goodness, The Tent is essentially a throwback to the classic 1980s horror outings, but with a more modernized flare.
The film looks and sounds great, and is filled with little touches that are highly reminiscent of the horror films of yore, with Creepshow and Halloween (shock) being chief among them, though there are others to catch for those with a discerning eye. The film also manages to be highly atmospheric, slowly building a sense of dread and impending doom each time the seemingly innocuous tent pops up. Which is impressive considering that the entire scenario takes place during the day in what is clearly a well traversed park. Part of this is due to the excellent camera work, but thanks also goes to the lovely soundtrack (also by Rivas), which complements each scene quite effectively while also managing to not be too overbearing or drown out the action happening on screen.
You know you’re watching a horror movie when one of the characters is reading Fangoria.
The acting here also fares quite well, all things considered. And that’s not in any way an insult, it’s just that the acting isn’t really the focus of this short, the buildup is, so dialogue is actually kept to a minimum. Hell, there’s more communication through texting here than there is through verbal speech. Though what little is there is quite engaging and effective. It’s just that with all the scenic vistas and jogging going on there…just isn’t too much to comment on.
Oh look, the film just became self aware.
Admittedly, it is a very nice park.
Overall, I really liked The Tent. The premise is kind of stupid (okay, it’s really stupid), but it’s delivered with just enough seriousness and levity to feel forboding instead of outright ridiculous. People who like old-school horror flicks will appreciate the small visual touches and throwbacks, and everyone else should appreciate it’s quick pace, ominous vibes and excellent visuals. If you’re looking for something new with a hint of nostalgia and have about 15 minutes to spare, then The Tent is an excellent way to kill that time.
The Tent is available for streaming on Amazon and Vimeo.