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Film Festival Today

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Film Review: Amateur Filmmaking Drowns Redeeming Qualities of “Tar”

Written by: Patrick Howard | October 1st, 2020

Film poster: “Tar”

Tar (Aaron Wolf, 2020) 1 out of 4 stars.

The premise and plot elements of Aaron Wolf’s Tar, no matter how campy, hold a great deal of potential, in the eyes of any fan of B-movie horror. Genre-film fans like myself have fond memories of watching films that were filled with giant hulking monsters from times once forgotten, dark and dank walkways, and ancient powers not to be trifled with. All of these factors, if utilized wisely, can create a truly entertaining ride.

Wolf and Timothy Bottoms (The Shed) play son and father Zach and Barry. Their family business is on its last leg, and so they are forced to accept the sad fact that it’s time to shut their store’s doors forever. However, Zach, Barry and their employees are shocked to learn that they must also survive the bloody attacks of a 40,000-year-old tar monster.

Aaron Wolf in TAR ©Howling Wolf Productions

Tar is a classic example of a fan film made with passion and love that lacks the crucial filmmaking skills and disciplines needed to craft a cinematic story to engage the audience. Monster movies need heart and emotional character stakes as much as a typical Hollywood drama that has critics salivating at the mouth. The pieces are in place in Tar, but the basic mechanics of effective editing, screen direction and cinematography are off by a few degrees. The ever-present sound and even feeling of dead, awkward air never leave the film. I can’t say if Aaron Wolf and Timothy Bottoms had good chemistry on set, but it doesn’t show here as one scene trudges on to the next.

Wolf fails to look at his film with a critical eye to see which scenes could be tighter in pacing or could be taken out entirely. Would these corrections lead Tar to become a cult classic? Perhaps, but it could certainly help make it an entertaining reprieve from the current climate of isolation and restlessness. 

Timothy Bottoms in TAR ©Howling Wolf Productions
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Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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