Tin Can review — Homegrown sci-fi horror chills to the core

Tin Can | Directed by Seth A Smith | Written by Smith and Darcy Spidle | 99 min | ▲▲▲▲△ | VOD

A version of this review appeared during my coverage of the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in September 2021.

Tin Can is a compelling, claustrophobic sci-fi thriller from Smith, whose South Shore-set ghost story, The Crescent, creeped us out in 2017.

Fret (Anna Hopkins) is a parasitologist who believes she’s found a way to control, or maybe cure, a worldwide fungal pandemic that’s beset the human race, but just as she’s reaching her goal she’s abducted and wakes in a stasis tube, a human-sized petrie dish.

Unsure how long she’s been there and unable to get free, she is able to hear and communicate with other prisoners in nearby tubes. As she begins to piece together the situation she’s in, the broader fate of humanity itself comes into focus.

Tin Can is part prison drama, part psychological horror, and part vision of uncomfortably relevant future dystopia — with shades of Andrei Tarkovsky and early David Cronenberg, telling especially due to the participation of the younger Brandon Cronenberg, writer-director of the astonishing Possessor, who helped with the script.

What maybe impresses the most is the production design, which is next level, while the moments of pure visual texture that made The Crescent so interesting manifest here throughout.

A very different second half is stuffed with themes of transformation and flashbacks that help flesh out the character relationships left uncertain in the tubular first act. Even wearing its influences on its sleeve the film is wildly original — Tin Can‘s ambition is off the charts.

Also starring Michael Ironside, Simon Mutabazi, and Amy Trefry.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.