I was wondering when Australia was going to get involved in the first person/found footage genre... alright, I really wasn't, but they did, and so here we are.
The Tunnel is a Blair Witch style POV flick, in which a group of journalists head into the vast tunnel system beneath Sydney (Australia), to investigate a rash of disappearing homeless people. They're also interested in uncovering the truth behind the New South Wales Government's (also in Australia) sudden abandonment of a water project or something... either way they're morons for going down into the creepy tunnels. You know it just can't end well.
Once in the tunnels, odd sounds and disappearing gear begin to plague the crew, but it's not until one of them goes missing that the true terror really starts. The further and further into the labyrinth of dark, skeezy tunnels they go, the more they begin to realize that they're truly fucked. What's down there with them, lurking in the darkness? What happened to Tangles? What the fuck kind of name is Tangles anyway? Why do these movies always have to have one sneaky, lying bitch in them, that ends up putting everyone's life in danger because they're selfish and opportunistic? Far be it from me to spoil you on these mysteries, but I will say this; that bitch would have got left.
If you're claustrophobic this movies will probably give you fits. If you're scared of tunnels, ditto. If the sound of the Aussie dialect gives you the willies, just skip the whole thing altogether. If you do appreciate all of the aforementioned things along with a heavy dose of tension and doom thrown in for good measure, then you are going to love this movie.
In a lot of ways, The Tunnel is the same as most found footage genre flicks; there's the shaky cam, the "real" feel of it all, it's dark and creepy... one major difference though lies in the way it's all presented. If someone happened upon this movie on a random cable channel, they might get suckered into thinking it's a real documentary, because it feels exactly like one. If I had to pick one movie that it reminded me of in tone, not content, I'd have to go with 2010's Lake Mungo. they both had that Docudrama tone about them, and it was intentional in both cases.
Aside from the film itself, there are 2 things about The Tunnel that are genuinely notable:
First of all, this is the first movie ever released directly to Bittorrent by the filmmakers. That's Huge. In a digital world where Hollywood complains that movie downloads are killing the industry (they aren't) and sues 12 year old's for downloading crappy copies of movies that are usually shitty to begin with, the producers of The Tunnel decided to buck the system and release it online to garner interest in their film... and they encourage people to download and share it. For this reason alone, the DVD is worth purchasing.
The second thing, which kinda goes hand in hand with the first, is that they sold individual frames of the film online to raise money, giving anyone who donates a chance to own a part of the film. Even cooler than that, the producers are going to choose one frame, and the owner of that frame will get 1% of the profit of the film. That's just neat.
My guess is that instead of falling by the wayside and wallowing in relative obscurity, like so many small horror flicks do, The Tunnel will actually make some money and gain some much deserved exposure. All because the filmmakers thought outside of the box.
Big kudos have to be given to the ingenuity and balls at work here. Good onya, boys!
With all of that being said, I'm sure a lot of people are thinking "It can't be that good if it's free, right?" Well no, not right. Much to my surprise, The Tunnel was a pretty damn well made movie, with nary a sign of cheapness to be found. It's no $100 million opus mind you, but neither is it some cheap POS that they needed to give away for free to get anyone to even look at it.
B+ It's gritty, atmospheric, creepy, and feels real in pretty much every aspect. If you don't like the whole hand held/found footage thing, you probably wont like this movie. If you do though, then this should please you greatly. It's light on the blood, but then again this movie isn't going for jump scares or kill count; it's aim is to skeeve you out and make you sweat, and it does its job rather well.
Check the official site HERE, to own a piece of this movie and/or grab a copy of the DVD. The boys who made it deserve our support.