Starring Bel Deliá and Steve Davis. Rated 14A.
Remember the last part of The Blair Witch Project, where the supposed real-life documentary makers are freaking out and running around in that decrepit house in the woods and the chaotic camerawork has reached its jiggly apex and you’re wondering what the fuck is going on and what the hell’s going to happen next?
Well, the makers of The Tunnel must have studied those scenes religiously, because their low-budget flick manages to ooze that feeling of hysterical dread and panic quite often and most effectively. Call it a rip-off if you must, but it’s nicely done.
The Tunnel’s story is told pseudodocumentary style via interviews with Australian TV reporter Natasha (Bel Deliá) and cameraman Steve (Steve Davis), incorporating footage they shot along with soundman Tangles (Luke Arnold) and producer Peter (Andy Rodoreda). Investigating rumours of homeless people disappearing in the abandoned train tunnels beneath Sydney—and a potential cover-up involving a scrapped government plan to recycle the water there—the quartet descends into the cavernous blackness to see what they can find. Too bad for them.
It’s made clear early on that because Natasha and Steve are the only ones talking, Tangles and Peter never made it out alive. But that knowledge doesn’t diminish the edge-of-your-seat thrills that fans of claustrophobic, lost-in-the-dark flicks like The Descent will get from this engrossing feature.
Director Carlo Ledesma and writers-editors Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi make great use of the less-is-more approach. When scary shit happens, the terror sticks with you because you’re never shown enough to be certain of anything.
By keeping moviegoers in the dark—literally, at times—the filmmakers force them to exercise their imaginations.
Then again, they didn’t hold much back in that scene with the eyeballs.
Watch the trailer for The Tunnel.