The Tunnel is another of the suddenly popular ‘found footage’ films which seem to be pouring onto our screens. But what sets this film apart from all the others is the use of more than just a handheld, shaky camera. The Tunnel sees a journalist and her camera team head down to the abandoned railway lines under Sydney. Their aim is to uncover the truth about why their government abandoned plans of recycling water using the old tracks in order to put an end to the drought.
The ‘found footage’ approach is nothing new, what with such films as Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and of course, the one that started it all, The Blair Witch Project. One thing all these films have in common is shaky and often annoying camera angles. What The Tunnel does differently in that respect is to use better equipment. Because they are journalists and professional camera men, they have the best equipment which means better quality shots and less needless and irritating shaking. They do have a handheld camera which they flick to occasionally for the night vision but apart from that, the use of a quality camera is something refreshing and needed to this genre.
The use of unknown actors is another trait of ‘found footage’ films. The Tunnel is no different and director Carlo Ledesma picks his cast wonderfully. The chemistry between the main four is something you notice right off the bat. It is as if they are a team and have been working together for years, the dialogue seems easy, the banter works and there seems to be no forced emotions.
The only bad point to this film would be its initial pace. It does start rather slowly with interviews with two of the main cast who are reflecting on their experience and telling us what happened and how they felt. This is not a good idea as the audience now knows that these two characters survive the events in this film as they are telling the tale. The interviews also seemed to slow the pace of the film, sometimes going into needless detail. The interviews added a slight sense of realism but more so gave the feeling of watching a documentary. The film could have done without these interviews or at the very least cut them down a bit and move the pace of the film on.
Overall the film produced some excellent moments, some making you jump, other just down right spooky. If you are not scared easily by films I would suggest you give The Tunnel a try. After the initial documentary stage of the film comes the adrenaline pumping horror/thriller aspect, and it is done wonderfully.
The film’s numerous positive aspects by far out weight its negative. If you manage to stick out the interviews and build up at the beginning of the film then you will be rewarded with a found footage horror like no other.
Written by Oliver Willis