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The Tunnel (2011)

An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.

I went into this film knowing next to nothing about it. All I knew was that is was released online to download for free and was an Australian found footage film. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw and I think the less you know about the film the better.

I’ll keep it as spoiler free as possible to begin with. The basic premise revolves around the governments sudden u-turn in a plan to use the underground train tunnels to utilise the water. An investigative journalist named Natasha decides something is not quite right and decides to take matters into her own hands. So she leads a team down into the underground labyrinth determined to get a story. The film mixes the found footage from the expedition with interviews with the survivors.

It starts off quite slow and we get to meet the crew. If you’re not into the whole found footage/shaky camera work then this film may not be for you. However, if you can look past that and enjoyed similar styled films such as Blair Witch and The Descent then there is a good story to be found. The crew are a likeable group and I was genuinely interested in what their investigation would uncover. We are told that the tunnels are rumoured to be full of homeless people. We even see an interview with one former resident who was very frightened when discussing what he saw during his time living in the tunnel.

Once down in the tunnel the drama starts to unfold and mysterious things happen. Strange noises, objects moving, and eventually members of the crew start to disappear. The claustrophobic location and the fast movements of the hand-held cameras really works well here. Like any good horror movie, we don’t see who or what is stalking the crew until pretty near the end, and even afterwards it is all very ambiguous as to what actually happened. The director did a great job of only showing us a glimpse of what was stalking them, basically you see some bright eyes, but a little more back story to what it actually was would of been nice. They are doing a sequel to this movie so maybe we will get more of an explanation.

It’s hard to go into any more detail really without ruining the film. It isn’t particularly graphic or violent, there is a bit of blood shown but the main horror is of the unknown and the claustrophobic surroundings whilst being hunted. The main negatives for me were that by having a film with a survivors interview narrative running alongside the actual found footage, it ruins the suspense of who actually dies and makes it out alive. The film leaves lots of unanswered questions and has a few plot holes, but overall I’m glad I’ve seen it, and I look forward to the bigger budgeted sequel which I hope goes some way to rectifying some of the questions from this film. It was a good solid effort and I like the fact it was partly funded by fans who were offered the chance to buy a digital frame of the film.

5 stars

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I actually reviewed this back in June when I first started the blog, and only 2 people read it. Since they both commented, I felt it was a shame to lose their comments, and have copied and pasted them here. Mainly because I’m grateful they took the time to stop by at the very beginning, and shows just how long Eric from The IPC has supporting me. Cheers buddy!! 🙂

  1. I read your review & it peaked my curiosity so I sat down & watched The Tunnel. Your review sums the movie up well. A few too many unanswered questions to my mind but a reasonable horror film & one of the better found footage movies. My biggest complaint was while the interviews with the survivors worked well it also took away any real feeling of peril for the group as you knew who survived & who didn’t. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Yeah for me that was the main downfall, be interesting to see what route they take with a follow up film, hopefully they lose the interview narrative. I really set up the blog to try and get people to watch films they may not normally hear about so I’m very grateful you took the time and watched this. It makes it all worth while!! Im hoping to find new films from blogs like yours!

      • I think that is the real joy of blogs like these, finding new movies that you wouldn’t normally hear about. I will certainly give the sequel to The Tunnel a watch. It will be interesting to see how the filmmakers approach it.

      • Exactly, already got a few new films from peoples blogs to search out. Wish I had started this a lot earlier! With Tunnel 2, I know the basic plot is for one of the ‘missing’ peoples sister to go back down the tunnels hunting for answers. Bigger budget, properly financed this time so fingers crossed it turns out ok.

  2. theipc

    I thought this was one of the better “found footage” gimmicks out there… this and Lake Mungo. Nice write up!

    • Cheers! Nice to see another person who has actually caught this film. I haven’t seen Lake Mungo yet, heard about it so will try hunt a copy down.

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27 Comments

  1. Found footage stuff is usually a turn off. But things like CHRONICLE is bringing it back for me. But, the scary stuff is getting played out though, I think.

    This seems interesting, but to be honest I’ll probably skip it. I hear THE DESCENT as awesome though.

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    • Yeah I can’t really recommend it, especially if you dont like found footage stuff. There was a decent idea here, just not executed as well as it could of been. The Descent is excellent, I really should review that soon!

      Cheers for dropping in Shah, always a pleasure 🙂

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  2. Will give this one a go. Sounds a little like the superb Spanish zombie film Rec with the journo/found footage angle. Good write-up.

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    • Cheers buddy. To be honest, it is no where near as good as REC – which I loved! – but there are definitely worse found footage films. Potential was there, hope you like it 🙂

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  3. Victor De Leon

     /  December 6, 2012

    I may give this one a go. Just out of curiousity. Thanks!

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    • Not sure if it is still available free as it was when I saw it, but if it is, then its worth it. Look forward to your thoughts if you ever catch it Vic, cheers buddy 🙂

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  4. I think I’m one of the few who actually like ‘found footage’ films. Never heard of this so I’m going to check it out. Thanks man!

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    • Honestly, they don’t bother me either really, I just know a lot of people are instantly put off by it. Trouble is so many films use it badly in my opinion.

      The premise for it here is great, and it makes sense they would be filming constantly. Just a bit of a strange film…….Hope you like it!! 🙂

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  5. theipc

     /  December 6, 2012

    You’re all aces kid!

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  6. I caught this probably a year ago after the Horror Ect podcast reviewed it. It’s not bad, it’s a good example of how a found footage film can work well. It kind of gets overshadowed by movies like Grave Encounters though.

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    • Yeah it did do bits well, just let down in a couple of places. Still haven’t seen Grave Encounters, heard very mixed things about it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  7. Since Mike gave one to me and also to you, I figured that nothing exceeds like excess, so here’s another one just like the other one that you can choose to ignore ( I would hardly blame you), but regardless, you got it. The post with all the usual blah blah information will be up shortly after midnight EST (US) at:

    http://teepee12.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/very-inspiring-blogger-a-puzzlement/

    and you are free to whatever you want with it. I’m very glad you are in our world. Although Garry doesn’t write as much as he could, he reads you like the daily newspaper (he is VERY dedicated to reading the newspapers, on paper, every day) and if there were not an ocean between us, what fun we could have.

    I have a backlog of awards waiting to be dealt with … so don’t think it’s over. I spared yo from round one of this award, but since Mike handed it right back, I can no longer give you a free pass. It’s a nice award, right? Right.

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    • Thank you!!! 🙂

      I am typing a post as we speak which will be up this weekend which was thanking you for the last one, so this is good timing as I can add to it, and do it all as one big post! I’m also adding a new page, with all awards on, so there will always be links to kind people such as yourself who have passed them onto me.

      I’m so happy to have found you and Garry too, love reading your work and it’s an honour that you both stop by and read my stuff, always a pleasure when you both comment 🙂

      I will take any award I can get! Once this new page goes up, the fuller it looks the better! Thank you so much once again Marilyn 😛

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  8. Thomas Priday

     /  December 6, 2012

    I too have watched the film, and I think the main problem I have with it (which I do most comedies), is it tries to start off light with the characters joking around, until…whatever bad happens. Also female characters, can’t stand them. 😛

    Nice review of an otherwise generic horror film.

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    • Females in general? Sexist 🙂

      Cheers Thomas, generic is about fair, although at least it tried a different setting and location, and was very ambiguous as to what the hell was down there!

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      • Thomas Priday

         /  December 6, 2012

        Yeah, I agree with you on that.

        I phrased it wrong. 😛 I mean weak women (in horrors) that always run and get caught. :L

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        • Haha, yeah yeah. I’ll edit it for you 😉

          That’s why I really liked a couple of horror films recently, Storm Warning being one I reviewed recently where the female lead was great, totally different to the usual stereotype.

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  9. I genuinely liked it. Sure, it’s mediocre and whatnot but I liked the tunnels they went into. I like abandoned tunnels/buildings/etc. However, as you’ve pointed out: the real problem is that you already know who the survivors are but, in the movie’s faux-documentary universe, it does make sense to have those interviews there as it’s done just like one of those sensationalist documentaries you always see on channels like Discovery or whatever.

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    • Glad you liked it!

      It just took away some of the ‘horror’ and shock factor for me, knowing who was going to make it. There were some creepy scenes though, and I will watch the sequel and fingers crossed it is an improvement. 🙂

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  10. It wasn’t to bad. I’ve seen worse.

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  11. Sounds fun! I can’t remember the title right now but there’s a great Canadian film about train tunnels too – this sounds a little like it (not a copy by any means but a little bit). Will have to check it out.

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    • Yeah it has a similar premise to a lot of things, but the real documentary angle intrigued me the most. Hope you like it if you ever catch it Misty 🙂

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      Reply
  1. Nice Socks, Dad! – A Look Back at Found Footage | HorrorFix - Horror Movie News Reviews and More!

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