Monday, 30 July 2012

The Tunnel - Horror Film Review

The Tunnel is another horror in the bustling found footage genre. The first Australian found footage film I believe I have watched. I have yet to see a bad Aussie horror with Road Train and Wolf Creek both using the unending outback to beautiful and unsettling effect. Here though there is no sun, instead the majority of the film takes place in the desolate tunnels below the streets of Sydney.

After a Government plan to use empty subway tunnels below the streets of Sydney as storage for recycled water is mysteriously abandoned Journalist Natasha Warner (Bel Delia) smells a cover up and decides to try and find out why. With rumours of homeless people going missing down in the tunnels she decides to heads off to see for herself with her 3 man film crew desperate for the scoop that might save her career. Down in the dark, in a maze of maintenance tunnels and rooms she finds out that some things are best left unknown.

First off the film is quite well produced, yet also immediately stabs itself in the foot in terms of scariness. Interjected throughout The Tunnel are interview sequences taken after the events with Natasha and her cameraman Steve who recount what happened. This is really well done and make the film seem like a documentary made for TV but also indicates that those two at least survived whatever happened, and so things couldn't have been too bad. I think it is the first horror film of this type in which the characters survive. Usually it is a staple of the genre that found footage indicates footage 'found'.

So is The Tunnel scary? The locations is certainly a creepy place, lots of long narrow concrete tunnels, lots of spooky empty rooms, the remnants of when the place was used as an air raid shelter including a creepy giant bell (that literally rings in the change from normality to horror Silent Hill style). As can often be the problem with these films terror equals confusion as characters charge around pointing their cameras at the floor, screaming, and half seen images. There are some great scenes though, one in which they find a small room with a freshly blooded chair, the intro and outro of the film are both really well done with awesome music being played and the interview scenes look totally authentic. The thing causing all the terror is often seen yet still really hard to discern exactly what it is due to night vision cameras.

I couldn't help but think that the characters were kinda stupid, they were not lost in the tunnels until blind panic made them so, they were always near safety, in fact one character randomly turns up who they had seen earlier in the film in a safe location, obviously this meant the exit was near so was hard to understand just how they were managing to get so lost. This is referred to in part by the tunnel blue prints which are wildly inaccurate.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching this film, it reminded me a lot of the British horror Death Line and its remake (about a woman accidentally locked in a subway). Not really scary, but well made, with some really good acting, and does feel like a documentary at times as was intended. The Tunnel is out to buy on DVD from August 6th 2012.


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