Cold, pale and in the dark, Fret (Anna Hopkins) crashes back to consciousness inside a small metal chamber. Fret attempts to piece together how she was imprisoned inside her confined cell. As a scientist, who was on the brink of discovering a cure for a deadly plague, Fret desperately works to escape her cell to save the last of humanity.
Director: Seth A Smith
Writers: Seth A Smith, Darcy Spidle
Producer: Nancy Urich
Cast: Anna Hopkins, Simon Mutabazi, Michael Ironside, Tim Dunn, Kristin Langille, Amy Trefry, Chik White, Woodrow Graves
Genre: Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller | Independent
Run Time: 104 minutes
Rating: Not rated
Distributor: Dread Presents
Theatrical Release: August 5, 2022
VOD Release: August 9, 2022
Home Video Release: September 6, 2022
By Chris Hammond
Parasitologist and slime enthusiast Fret (Anna Hopkins) finds herself working to save the world from a fungal infection. This infection is causing a slow painful death for its infected. After finding a breakthrough and possible cure. Fret finds herself attacked with a fire extinguisher. She awakes inside a container or “Tin Can”. Inside she has tubes and other devices attached to her. Now she must figure out how she got here and also find a way out. After a few moments in the can, she discovers that she is not the only one in the same predicament. Together this group must find a way out, or suffer an unknown fate.
This type of claustrophobic formula is not new. The 1997 film Cube (also out of Canada) has a similar premise, but not in such a small area. Writer/director Seth A. Smith uses different angles to convince the audience of the claustrophobic container size. There are shots within the walls where Fret is dismantling the tubes attached to her. These are as effective as can be. There’s minimal comradery with the other imprisoned Candies (let’s call them) at first. There is a common goal though which is to get free.
Director Smith makes the audience’s “eww” factor spike with torturous sounds of pain. He does this with minimal gore though and leaves it to the minds of the viewers to develop those images of pain.
There are many interesting things that come along while viewing a film like Tin Can. The relationships between characters and many callbacks to these relationships via flashback scenes. Breaking the film into chapters. This makes the viewers think about what the titles of those chapters mean. With the use of many interesting visuals, the audience stays vested. One would think a film shot about people in containers would be very plain, but this is not the case. The use of light and different viewpoints helps to keep the viewer’s eyes intrigued.
Anna Hopkins is engaging as Fret. There’s a sense of hope, hope that she can find a way out and help the others. This is her movie as she is the one with the most screen time and pretty much the only one viewers can root for. The minimal Industrial-style score by Seth A. Smith is a haunting touch. It adds to an already anxiety-filled film experience. Sometimes it’s there and you don’t even realize it because it’s so appropriate.
Actor Michael Ironside is in the film for only a few scenes. Although his unmistakable voice comes from one of the canisters throughout. Ironside is a nice addition to the film’s cast. It’s nice to see a Canadian production using such a legendary actor as Ironside.
The second half of the film’s mood changes and it becomes weird and hard to follow. Things happen, but reasons are not given. There are peaks and valleys of interesting concepts. The minimal conversations between characters leave viewers questioning what is going on. Different plot points are going on, but where they cross and intertwine is when things get fuzzy. Even flashback scenes don’t help to explain things.
This is a science-fiction horror film with many interesting ideas. Some of these ideas work and some don’t. Smith has constructed a depressing look at the future. It mirrors many things going on still today in our world. Tin Can is a worthy watch in the same vein as films like The Road. Go into it knowing there are no rays of sunshine or smiling happy people and enjoy it for what it is.
In Select Theaters August 5 | On Demand August 9 | Available on Home Video September 6