Deep beneath the heart of Sydney, the lives of four ordinary human beings are torn at the seams as they embark upon a work-oriented investigation that results in their capture amidst a frantic web of paranoia and fear.
2011 Australian horror The Tunnel hosts an intimately suffocating first person narrative that, since the likes of Paranormal Activity, has thrived amidst the film industry. An apathetic introduction, intending to provide a meaty informational background to the plot, is what greets the viewer but, although it appears complimentary at first, rapidly begins to overcompensate. The story itself focuses on a budding journalist and three of her camera crew who hear of how the government plan to transform underground tube stations in to a local water supply. However, when the plans come to an unexpected halt, there is little to be said on why and Natasha Warner (played by Bel Deliá) is determined to shed some light on the truth. There is some talk that homeless people who use the tunnels as refuge are mysteriously disappearing. As Natasha, Peter, Steve and Tangles all carry out an investigation in to the grim depths of the underground network, they quickly realise where exactly they have been disappearing to.
The camera-work is inevitably the film’s highlight. The handheld approach allows for an enthrallingly effective manipulation of camera angles, including CCTV and studio perspectives. Incorporated with the raw nature of the acting, namely from Bel Deliá and Steve Davis, the reader is left almost uncomfortably wrapped up in their own suspension of disbelief. The story itself features a typical scenario of people fearlessly pushing their boundaries to degrees which are quite often unrealistic. However, as the plot darkens with Tangles’ disappearance, the characters are left without their bravado and are reduced to a very vulnerable core of their being by the beast that lurks in the shadows.
Overall, the mockumentary approach proves initially to be successful and director Carlo Ledesma achieves the perfect balance of climatic scenes to ensure focal fatigue never occurs. However, as The Tunnel progresses, the inclusion of interviews often dismantles the tension built after each scene, preventing you from being able to completely immerse yourself in the storyline. Diversely, Paul Dawkins flaunts a simple but well-crafted soundtrack, providing only the auditory essentials to ensure this horror remains as ominous as possible.
Given that The Tunnel is a crowd-funded film with a meagre AUD$36,000 budget, it is fair to say that writers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey utilised a fantastic amount of “creativity” to ensure the film’s success. Conclusively, for fans of the close-quarters thrill in ”found footage” films, The Tunnel will adequately entertain but the unstable structure of the film itself, as well as its poorly abrupt choice of ending, truly restrain it from evolving in to a true horror, as opposed to a simple scare-story.