Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012, Irish: Steven Galvin reviews Ivan Kavanagh’s film Tin Can Man
Sunday, 19th February, 8.00pm, Light House

Dumped by his girlfriend, stuck in a job he hates, things surely can’t get any worse for Pete… erm, indeed they can – with the Tin Can Man.

Tin Can Man was probably responsible for more than a few of the audience members’ nightmare-filled sleep after it screened on Sunday night as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Shot in 2007, Ivan Kavanagh’s self-funded black and white thriller/horror follows the brutal treatment of Pete after he answers the door one evening to a stranger, Dave, and so begins his terrifying descent into a personal hell.

The film stars Patrick O’Donnell and Michael Parle, with Colin Downey on board as cinematographer. O’Donnell won Best Actor at 2010’s JDIFF for his role in another Kavanagh film The Fading Light, and why Irish audiences haven’t seen more of him is one of those mysteries of casting. The film also boasts a mentally deranged performance from Michael Parle as the film’s brutal psycho tormentor.

Kavanagh is obviously well schooled in cinema and brings echoes of filmmakers he admirers to bear upon proceedings. The film’s claustrophobic atmosphere and delirious drive make for a disturbingly oppressive, yet blackly comic, 83 minutes that never outstays its welcome – unlike Dave.

In a post-screening Q&A, Kavanagh told the audience that Tin Can Man was the second of four features he made between late 2006 and early 2009. The film had played on the festival circuit but when he received his first ever funding he dropped the film as it had no producer and focused his energies elsewhere. Recently Anne Marie Naughton came on board as producer and the film has taken on a second life.

Kavanagh explained how he developed a style of working with actors where he would reveal the plot to them a bit at a time rather than working with an actual script. One of the ideas for the film came from his own life living in apartment and not knowing his neighbours; something that Kavanagh thinks is quite scary about modern city living. He went on to tell the audience that he has always loved the horror genre as it allows directors to really push the boundaries with images and sound.

Tin Can Man is not your typical Irish film and once seen will never be forgotten. Kavanagh is to be applauded for creating a slice of unrelenting demented thrills and is definitely a name we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future. But for now, enjoy (if that’s the right word) Tin Can Man – a nerve-wracking, nightmarish journey on a ghost train through a macabre freak show.

Sleep well… and whatever you do, don’t answer that knock, knock, knock at the door.

Steven Galvin



  1. Anna Pospieszynska Reply

    I really enjoyed it. It was SCARY like hell but in a good way. Tin Can Man proves that if you have a great vision and people to work with, special effects are pretty much pointless.

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