Sunday, August 2, 2015

#1,812. The Tunnel (2011)

Directed By: Carlo Ledesma

Starring: Bel Deliá, Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis

Tag line: "The light runs out"

Trivia: This movie won the award for Best Special Effects at 2011's Screamfest

A call comes in to an Emergency Operator. When she answers, the woman on the other end of the line shouts that her friend was attacked, and is in desperate need of help. The operator tries to calm the woman down, but to no avail. What’s more, she's calling from a platform in a busy train station, resulting in all sorts of background noise. The frantic caller manages to pass on some general information, but before she can go into any detail as to where she and her freind are, the phone goes silent. This is our introduction to director Carlo Ledesma’s 2011 horror / thriller The Tunnel, and before the movie is over, we’ll have witnessed the events that led up to this call, some of which are terrifying.

Australian News reporter Natasha Warner (Bel Deliá) believes she’s stumbled onto the story of a lifetime. It all stems from an announcement made weeks earlier by the government of New South Wales, which stated that officials in Sydney were attempting to ease the current drought situation by bringing water from a network of underground tunnels up to the surface. Then, all of a sudden, the entire program is dropped without any explanation. Hoping to make a name for herself, Natasha, along with producer Pete Ferguson (Andy Rodoreda), Cameraman Steve Miller (Steve Davis), and sound engineer Jim “Tangles” Williams (Luke Arnold), heads underground, searching for clues that might shed some light on this mystery. Unfortunately for them, they find the answers they’re looking for. Or, more precisely, the “answers” find them.

Filmed in the abandoned railway tunnels that run under the city of Sydney, The Tunnel is part found footage (video shot by the crew is combined with surveillance images captured by Sydney’s vast network of roadside cameras) and part mockumentary (the story is told by a pair of survivors who, over the course of an interview, recount the ordeal that nearly cost them their lives). Though not quite as frightening as the Paris Catacombs in As Above, So Below, these tunnels are nonetheless very creepy; aside from their run-down condition, they’re extremely dark (the only available light emanates from the crew’s camera. When the battery runs out, the four can’t see a thing until a new one is installed). What Natasha and the others don’t know, but soon realize, is that something is down there with them, and by the time they figure it out, it’s too late. We do occasionally get a glimpse of what’s stalking them, but it’s the film's ominous mood, as well as its setting and the convincing performances of its four leads, that delivers the scares.

The money needed to produce The Tunnel was raised by way of a unique online campaign (its producers sold each of the movie’s digital frames for $1 apiece), and while they fell short of their ultimate goal (hoping for $135,000, they only managed to get $36,000), the creative minds behind this movie made the most of what limited resources they had, and in the process turned out one very nifty horror film.

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