Crash Analysis: THE TUNNEL (Australia, 2011)

Below ground, no one can find you if you scream 

A news crew goes underground and gets what they wished for

This is your above average mockumentary with found footage: BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) meets LAKE MUNGO (Australia, 2008), with [REC] (Spain, 2007) and THE DESCENT (UK, 2005) thrown in for good measure. And the documentary-like element works extremely well because director Carlo Ledesma has directed two of them, including the dramatic segments for FOOD MATTERS (2008).

Ledesma and company create a legitimate tense infused atmosphere regarding a reporter, Natasha (Bel Delia) and her film crew as they venture “underneath” Sydney to expose why the homeless have gone missing.

The problem with a mockumentary, however, is the same as a documentary: By interviewing the participants, we know in advance who lives and who dies, which seriously detracts from the tension and suspense. Regardless, the acting is strong, especially from Steve Davis, who plays cameraman Steve Miller. In real life, he is a cameraman and this is his first acting role – and he’s flawless. And to know he was also the cinematographer for the project is equally amazing. With often minimal lighting or the steady glow of infrared, Davis manages to capture a wonderful element of suspense throughout, and often leaves the audience as disoriented as the characters.

The other actors did an equally fine job and brought us “regular people” thrust into a bizarre and frightening experience. However, because we have a pretty keen sense of who makes it, the tension does falter at times. Thanks to writers/editors Enzo Tedeshi and Julian Harvey, the movie maintains a serious tone and a steady beat that doesn’t leave the audience bored and waiting for something to happen. Even from the beginning, when the characters are being interviewed, we get the uneasy sensation that something really horrific has occurred, and we end up spending the time waiting for that nightmare to be made real.

What is it that lurks way down under? Of course, I can’t say, but I wish we had seen a bit more of it – with some darker moments thrown in for good measure. The movie did whet my appetite, but I was left hungry and wanted more.

However, if you want a solid, low budget horror with wonderful acting and great cinematography, THE TUNNEL is definitely worth a rental. As far as mockumentaries go, this is one of the very best I’ve ever seen. Enjoy your next trip to the subway…

3.5 out of 5 stars

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