The Tunnel DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video   N/A
Audio   N/A
Special Features   N/A
Total   N/A
Distributor: Paramount
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Classification:
 M15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

Final Score not available


The Tunnel

Conceived by writers/producers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey as the flagship project for their newly formed production company Distracted Media, The Tunnel created a significant amount of online buzz when first announced in early 2010. 

Billed as ‘Australia’s first crowd-funded horror/thriller feature,’ the project was to be funded in part by selling off the finished film’s estimated 135,000 individual frames for a dollar apiece.  Furthermore the movie was to eschew traditional distribution in favour of being uploaded in its entirety to BitTorrent.  While the audacious financing plan was only partially successful – to date just over 35,000 frames have been sold – The Tunnel nonetheless went into production as scheduled.  The end result is a slick, engrossing thriller that more than holds its own against other low-budget pseudo-documentaries of the horror genre such as Paranormal Activity, The Fourth Kind and The Blair Witch Project, to which it is indebted for both its overall style and manner of execution.  Along the way its producers also garnered a distribution deal from Paramount, and the film will be making its appearance on DVD in Australia in late May.

The premise revolves around the NSW government’s 2007 ambitious plan to utilise the water trapped in the disused train tunnels under St James station as a means of combating drought and water shortages in Sydney.  Announced with a moderate amount of fanfare, the plan was quickly quashed with little explanation and a number of conspiracy theories and urban legends soon sprouted. 

Sensing a cover-up, investigative journalist Natasha Warner (Bel Deliá) led her crew into the labyrinthine underground sprawl.  There quickly followed a descent into unimaginable horrors – using ‘recently declassified tapes’ shot by the camera crew and a series of candid interviews with the few survivors, Tedeschi and Harvey’s eerie and supremely atmospheric opus purports to tells exactly what happened deep inside the tunnels. 

Directed by Filipino-Australian Carlo Ledesma, heretofore best known for his award-winning short films such as 2007s The Haircut, The Tunnel stretches its minute budget (a reported $135,000) to the limit.  There’s nothing cheap or slipshod about the finished product and the majority of the performances are first rate, particularly Deliá as the intrepid reported in search of a career-making scoop.  The Tunnel will be released on both DVD and BitTorrent in late May 2011 (initial reports suggested 19 May, my DVD copy states a release date of 26 May) and is highly recommended as both an accomplished piece of horror filmmaking on a shoestring and an example of inventive 21st century marketing.  Many within the industry are waiting with bated breath to see whether the gambit pays off – if so, The Tunnel could revolutionise the way films are financed and distributed in this country, no mean feat.  The fact it’s a pretty damn good flick won’t harm its chances either.






 
 



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