War is hell. Other people are also hell. So being trapped in a tight space with a bunch of other people in the middle of a war must be pretty hellish. This is the premise of the strange and dark horror movie, Tank 432.
Good horror stories set in a warzone are pretty rare beasts. Getting the mix between the horrors of war and a scary narrative is a tricky thing to balance; get it wrong and all you have is either yet another war movie or a subpar horror flick. Nick Gillespie’s rather surreal and sometimes confusing movie is a rare example of the elements being a perfectly balanced blend of claustrophobia, paranoia and conflict.
Gillespie’s feature follows the misadventures of an unfortunate unit of soldiers. When we first meet the protagonists, they’re already making terrible errors and are clearly desperate to escape the clutches of whatever unseen menace wants them dead. Exhausted and harried by the enemy, this squad drags its two prisoners to the only safe space they can find; an old armoured personnel carrier.
What follows is a mostly character-driven piece, and Hellboy actor Rupert Evans is particularly superb. Our squaddies quickly realise they’ve trapped themselves in a tiny space and are surrounded by things that want them gone. Then it gets worse, which is unlucky as this isn’t the most tightly wound military unit in the world. The result is lots of yelling, lots of swearing and some terribly thought-out life choices.
It’s a tight piece about madness, trust and isolation, but mostly it’s a cracking little horror film. It’s also pretty short; this is a movie intended to scare the heck out you as quickly as it can and stay with you for a long time. As such, it doesn’t need to be long, just memorable, and Tank 432 is not a movie that you will forget in a hurry.
The world-building is fairly inconsistent; we don’t know much about the threat out hapless gang of soldiers are in, and the little snippets we get really don’t help. This actually helps the story; the less we know, the more haunting it becomes. All that it’s important to know is that something is after them, and the crew are so exhausted that them going crazy and getting killed becomes more and more likely with every minute.
Tank 432 is surreal, weird and totally terrifying. It’s also a fantastic example of how to tell a grand horror story on a tiny budget. Unforgettable and clever stuff.
TANK 432 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: NICK GILLESPIE / STARRING: RUPERT EVANS, STEVE GARRY, DEIRDRE MULLIANS / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 22ND