Set in the claustrophobic Cu Chi tunnels of Vietnam, director Josh Tanner (The Landing, Reverse) returns to the site for a third time with Wandering Soul, a 12-minute short that blends Horror movie tropes with a War movie setting. Inspired by real events during the Vietnam War, Tanner hopes he will “shine a light on a bizarre part of that conflict that is largely unknown to people… and hopefully creep a few folks out!” with his atmospheric period piece.
A tense and unsettling watch, Wandering Soul employs the tradition of using claustrophobia and the dark (it’s hard to see an image of someone scrabbling through tunnels, lit by a flickering flame, and not be reminded of Alien) to keep an audience on the edge of their seat to full effect. Though not the first director to blend the Horror and War genres (fellow S/W alum Julius Avery set his horror feature Overlord ‘behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day’), Tanner’s film has extra impact due to the historical relevance of the piece.
Receiving financial support from Screen Australia, fans of Tanner’s first short to feature on S/W (The Landing) won’t be surprised to hear that this is another film with impeccable production values. Building a replica of the Viet Cong tunnels on a sound stage, the director and his crew shot for two days in this specially constructed set before moving to a more tropical location for a night shoot in the jungle.
“A feature script of Wandering Soul has recently been written”
Wandering Soul is another impressive addition to Tanner’s expanding back-catalogue of shorts and with his flair for genre filmmaking, it’s not surprising to hear he’s currently looking to expand into the world of features. “A feature script of Wandering Soul has recently been written and will soon be ready to get out to market”, the director explains. “It takes the idea of Operation Wandering Soul and poses the ‘what if’ of its potential as a pandoras box for a squad of American GI’s who unwittingly find themselves entangled in the mystery of these ‘Ghost Tapes’.”
It’s surely only a matter of time before Tanner’s flair for genre storytelling sees him helm his debut feature and here at S/W we’ll celebrate the news like the graduation of our first born!