The Tunnel is the Mercedes of found footage flicks. Now, depending on where you currently stand on the topic of what is soon to be one of the most loathed sub-genres to grace the silver screen in the last twenty years, that could mean very little. What it is in a nutshell is a very well produced picture that straddles the line between faux documentary and yet another take on the Paranormal Activititty (yes, I said Activititty… I mean, c’mon… Katie Featherston’s um… “talents” were downright juggnormous in that movie.. and glorious…ohhhh soooo glorious….moving on) popularity that has swept movie houses and kept phenomenal box office receipts hitting Variety headlines every October. In its defense, it’s a better movie with better acting than its predecessors, and it shows it in every fame. The Tunnel starts us off with interviews from both a cameraman and investigative journalist (two of the original party of four) that were involved in the horrifying events that the film centers around. The tunnels beneath Australia are part of a conspiracy, it is revealed and our protagonists were hell-bent to investigate their many mysteries, with, of course, the blessing of the station they worked for. Well, blessing might be overdoing it as we find out that the station itself had no clue as to their methods for entering the forbidden tunnels (unlawfully of course after a failed bribe to one of the security guards on site) and now the hunt for the truth behind the disappearance of some of the city’s homeless turns into a fight for survival for the quartet of would-be investigators. The Tunnel might suffer from an overall lack of originality if it suffers from anything. A small group of people get caught in unfamiliar territory after being warned to stay far away and now they themselves are victims of a lurking evil with an insatiable thirst for blood… like I said… this isn’t a post World War 2 musical about gay lab apes in love (yeah.. you heard it… hella-original and free for the casual reader to run with) it’s a horror movie with a similar premise to the score of those that came before it. Again, the proof is in the pudding and the proof here is tunnel’s very atmospheric locale and the believability of its cast. To say the movie is claustrophobic is an understatement as we follow our quartet through the labyrinthine twists of the city’s tunnel system. Couple this with just the right amount, or lack thereof, of light, and the film’s environment is rife with suspense. THIS, is what separates The Tunnel from its contemporaries. We go into it knowing that two comrades are destined for the dark beyond yet we still feel the scares nonetheless. Although we never get a very clear image of exactly what is hunting our crew (these scenes are IR but thankfully it actually adds to the tension instead of being just a green backdrop to a timer and some sleepwalking… or sleepstanding… wow… that really does make it sound a little more boring, doesn’t it? I like the idea of sleep sprinting myself… a little chariots of fire set amidst images of faceplants and sweaty pjs) we don’t feel like victims of “pull-the-rug-out from-under-us” shaky cam, either. We are treated to just enough to get our imaginations going…which… now that I think about it..is a pretty successful tactic for a horror film, isn’t it? Like I said earlier, The Tunnel might not give much hope to detractors of the found footage genre, but to me, I’d rather have a Mercedes with some resell value than a Gremlin with an empty Mcdonald’s bag in the passenger seat and a petrified fry on the floorboard.
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