The Tunnel (2011)

Director: Carlo Ledesma
Starring: Bel Delia, Luike Arnold, Andy Rodoreda, Goran D Kleut . Australia. 1h 34m

One of the popular and more believable sub genres within the found footage style is the bold and daring mockumentary, a no brainer really as there’s a perfect set up for a found footage project, but one which can really push the boundaries of faking scary adventures, after all there’s a dedicated team of professionals filming, usually with a decent budget and scope for a story and their drive to tell the truth is pretty powerful, almost forcing them to push beyond normal boundaries, but what makes The Tunnel such a winner is it’s connection with real life concerns, ie tackling homeless people driven into underground networks, and how it keeps its feet firmly on the ground without going into the extreme bizarre in order to scare the audience.

Filmed after the event, the movie cuts between timelines before, during and after the underground expedition, and the recordings quite seamlessly blend with each other, various CCTV footage and one chilling phone call.

Tunnel follows a prominent news team as they head into the tunnels beneath the Aussie Metro without any authorization, they are determined to break open a story of corruption and missing persons. The government was adamant on using the disused tunnels for a green/water scheme, but after everything goes quiet, Natasha is wondering where the money went and why nothing has happened years later, Natasha believes the public deserves answers.

It takes the team a while before they go underground and first we’re given a lot of footage to show how close everyone is together, pulling pranks, quaffing ale and generally being really awesome friends but when there’s a big story they all pull together as tough professionals. Cutting between the retrieved footage there’s various interviews with the surviving crew giving a hint that things go awry, everyone looking a lot older and more sullen, what on earth could have happened?

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With all mockumentary horrors, there’s always some big story to uncover and with these comes interviews, and this all happens and each step of the way there’s stark warning signs for the team to just stay away, an interview with a homeless man turns into a therapy session when he freaks out when questioned with what happened to his friends in the underground network and with videos found from all over the world of similar confrontations and disappearances in the dark tunnels but basically Natasha has no fucking fear and is desperate to get to the top as fast as possible, she’s is the new girl on scene is determined to make a name for herself and if she can crack this world problem then she feels she’ll make the big time, no matter the risks.

One of us was going to do it, but i got there first and I just pushed him into the water.

-Steve Miller

Natasha is the driving force of the team, and it’s made very clear that everything is down to her ruthlessness. The team generally have very little respect for her, but follow her blindly into the tunnels to get “her ” scoop. Armed with a rough map and some basic equipment they head into the subway and find a way into the disused tunnels and instantly start to notice that something isn’t quite right.

Things eventually start to go bump in the dark and the audience is teased with fleeting glimpses of something malevolent and intelligent lurking in the darker shadows underground. It’s quite an unusual situation, the crew have lights, phones, cameras and yet they keep getting fooled by this “stalker” at one point it picks up their cameras and films them, at other times it’s like a predator stalking a security guard that attempts to take them to safety, but it’s clear that what or whoever it is, it’s very quick, quite deadly and fears almost nothing.

For a fan funded horror project it’s quite accomplished and does offer a creatureless creature feature, with a handful of smart jump scares and a fairly interesting story. It could have been much more of a bloody ordeal like The Descent, (2005) but in stark contrast the blood and gore is confined to a small number of scenes, and there’s a lot of respect for how the movie keeps its feet firmly on the ground and doesn’t try too hard to go dive into fantasy in order to creep out it’s audience, crafting a haunting feeling and allowing just enough scars to keep any would be trespassers out of the tunnels, even if we don’t really see or understand what’s going on down there by the end of the film…

Rating: 4/10

Related: The Descent, (2005) Escapist, (2008) Creep, (2004) As above So Below, (2014) Blair Witch, (1999) Gone, (2007) The Cave, (2005)

Lists: Underground Terror

Article: AOFA Short Introduction and History of Found Footage Cinema

 

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