Horror Movie Review: Tar (2020)

Tar is a horror film that was written and directed by Aaron Wolf & Timothy Nuttall, releasing in 2020.

Barry Greenwood and his son Zach have a strained relationship. It is tested further when the lease to their building and family business expires. This means one thing, they must pack up and get out before the office is demolished. Meanwhile, the city’s subway continues to expand beneath their feet. Elsewhere, a mysterious vagrant tells a tale of an ancient creature that lives in the Los Angeles tar pits. He believes that the ongoing construction will disturb the being to which it will exact revenge. Barry, Zach and others are packing up the building late at night when strange things begin to occur. Could it be the monster from the tar?

Let me not beat around the bush on this one, Tar is a bad movie. Firstly, the acting and dialogue are very much below-par. It’s frequently cheesy, cringe worthy, non-sensical and quite often unintentionally hilarious. There is a particular exchange between Zach and the vagrant known as Carl O’Neil that had me rolling. Considering this was written and directed by Aaron Wolf, he must take most of the blame here. If you think I’m being harsh then let me add in the fact that he stars in Tar as Zach. Not only is Zach an unlikeable character due to being generally irksome but the acting involving him is probably the worst in the film.

Then, there’s Diana. A character I would label as plain weird. She’s clearly there for no other purpose than her physical appearance because it certainly isn’t for her ability to act. She’s objectified in a way I haven’t seen in quite some time, it’s old-fashioned and doesn’t really have a place anymore.

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I’ve saved the worst for last in terms of the characters, trust me. Ben, where do I start with Ben? This guy has to be the biggest POS I have ever seen in any film. I thoroughly enjoyed his demise. However, the misogynistic nature of his death is shocking. A woman just had her face pulled off and there is a real-life monster at his feet and instead of survival, all he cares about is getting a kiss from Diana. Then, everyone stands around which leads to Diana dying like a moron as well.

Nobody reacts appropriately to what is happening. When they attempt to show an ounce of emotion it’s painfully forced. Zach is the main character but he’s just so unlikeable. From the off he’s just really unpleasant towards his Father. I certainly had no desire to see him survive. In fact, I was rooting for Tar man the entire time. Their final showdown is anti-climactic because Tar man decides to start throwing hands instead of just ending it quickly like he had many times previously.

Right, are there any positives to be found in Tar? Shockingly, yes. Firstly, the concept of a Tar like monster being disturbed and exacting its revenge isn’t a bad idea. There’s definitely something worthwhile there for a horror film. Also, The Tar man monster itself actually looks surprisingly good. I give the film props for going practical and using a guy in a suit opposed to something CGI.

Additionally, the gore is decent when the film finally decided to stop doing random cutaways and weird screen distortions. Even if the setup was dumb, Marigold getting her face pulled off looked awesome and really brutal.

Finally, the soundtrack is just weird. It doesn’t suit anything that takes place at all.

Overall, while I was watching Tar I couldn’t help but wish that it was an origin story for the tar man zombie from Return of the Living Dead. Now that would be cool.




Tar
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