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By Stina Chyn | March 23, 2004

The events in “The Dock” (Nina Martinek) take place against a backdrop perfect for an “X-Files” episode. On a dull and misty day, a middle-aged woman with blonde hair drives down a stretch of road leading into a small town. She parks in front of a general store, goes inside, asks the lone employee (Lachlan Hampton) where the painkillers are, and nearly faints when she’s standing over the freezer. The woman leaves the store with the pills, gets into her car, and drives away. It’s evident that she’s not feeling very well. Is it because she’s ill? Did she see a ghost? Did she create a ghost? The film never clarifies nor elaborates on why the woman, whose name is later revealed to be Milly (Andrea Leigh), appears troubled. She continues to drive and when she glances at the rearview mirror, she notices a truck behind her, trailing too close for comfort.

The setting and the scenario prime the viewer to anticipate something sinister will happen not only because of the “on a dark and dreary day” factor, but also because the viewer knows something Milly doesn’t. Even though there was only one employee at the general store, Milly wasn’t the only customer. There was a priest (John Hampton), a farmer (Barry Stricke), and a young man named Scott (Kurt Hudson). Based on Scott’s behavior, as well as the way the camera frames him right after Milly almost blacks out, the viewer suspects that he is the man driving that truck.

“The Dock” might look and feel like an “X-Files” episode, but it doesn’t live up to its first impressions. Scott finds the woman at a dock. They exchange some words and then they more or less go their separate ways. When Milly returns to her car and her journey, she checks her mirror and sees another car driving at a respectable distance from her. Anti-climactic is an appropriate descriptor for the film’s end.

In one respect, “The Dock” is like the would-be urban legend. It contains the right ingredients; it just hasn’t been passed around enough campfires and slumber parties to become one.

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