Firstly I should say I made a huge mistake in watching this film alone. Usually I have to watch horror films with company, even though I love them and now I’ve remembered why I do this.
Admittedly, I’m not sure how much it would have helped as The Tunnel is brilliantly terrifying. You know when a movie starts with an emergency services call with a screaming woman that you’re in for a treat.
Throw in a hand held camera, night vision and a series of underground tunnels and you’ve got the perfect horror film. This particularly appealed to my fears as I’m claustrophobic (again, why did I watch this alone?)
The film is a documentary style horror that follows a journalist’s investigation into a government cover-up that leads her and her crew into a network of abandoned train tunnels in Sydney. Whilst they hunt for their story, they quickly begin to realize that they are the ones being hunted.
I loved the film generally for being the perfect horror, but after watching the special features I loved it even more! Turns out, because there was no budget, the film’s writer-producers launched the 135k Project, where individual digital frames of the film were sold for $1, to try and raise the film’s $135,000 target budget. How cool is that?!
Though the target was not reached, this meant the filmmakers had to be even more creative which in fact worked out really well.
For example, one snippet of information that I enjoyed from the special features was that because it would have been too costly and complicated to hire an actor to play a cameraman, and then have a cameraman film him, they had to find someone who could be both.
Steve Davis filled this role and was perfect. As the director, Carlo Ledesma says, what was so amazing was his ability to talk about experience in a detached manner and I have to agree.
This was brilliant because throughout the film there were interviews shown with the characters telling the story of what happened. These were very convincing, even to the slightest detail such as the actor saying “um” in the middle of a sentence so it just felt real rather than delivered lines.
The interviews also completed a great horror movie set-up. It started terrifying with the phone call and then calmed down as the background story was set. Then there was a slow build back to terrifying.
The simplicity of the film was incredible and less is more definitely worked in this case. Whether this was always the plan or whether it was just a result of the tight budget, I thought it was fantastic. Especially when it came to the character of ‘The Stalker’ who’s fleeting and mysterious appearances were far more scary than a full reveal would have been. Kudos as well to the actor, Goran D. Kleut for playing him so well.
Another component that deserves a mention is the music which adds perfectly to each atmosphere the film presents, particularly the end scene. This is also the scene where the acting particularly stood out for me as Bel Deliá delivers an outstanding performance at that point.
The other performances by Andy Rodoreda and Luke Arnold in the film deserve a mention as they too were impressive and convincing in their roles.
Sometimes watching behind the scenes can ruin a film but I am just so completely impressed by this one and some of the techniques used. It is so creative and so well done. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was done on such a tiny budget whilst I was watching it. I was completely absorbed and totally convinced of what was happening in the story. What more can you ask for?
I suppose it would be easy to accuse the film of being predictable but sometimes horror movies work best that way. It was obvious certain things were going to happen, but I didn’t know when or how they would happen, and that’s the key. Because actually it meant I was on edge for pretty much the entire movie.
It would also be fair to say that the film is scary for the sake of being scary. The plot isn’t particularly amazing and it doesn’t push boundaries, but creatively the film does and it certainly ticks all the boxes of a horror film.
Creepy is perhaps a more fitting word. It isn’t a blindingly horrific scary movie that will give you nightmares, but the suspense is there and whilst the film is on you will be hooked.If you like being scared for the sake of it or if you just appreciate technical creativity, I highly recommend giving The Tunnel, and the special features, a watch.