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The Tunnel(2011)(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday]

Beneath the streets of Sydney, Australia lies a massive series of labyrinthian tunnels. Previously used during war times, and mostly now running parallel with the metro system, they have now become desolate and overrun with darkness, vermin, and a massive homeless population. When the Australian government decides to turn these tunnels into a series of waterways and canals, it becomes a massive topic of how to treat the homeless who reside there and becomes the catalyst of a cover-up conspiracy.. A news anchor and her team are desperate for a new big story when their original idea is shot down by the studio director, so they decide to investigate tunnels and provide coverage on this debate. But when they finally make their way deeper in the heart of the tunnels, they realize that something else is living down there.

This is an Australian found footage film that came out right during the explosion of the subgenre only a few years after Paranormal Activity and its imitators. It was a very small, independent film that made some waves at festivals but spent a long time only remaining a cult classic. It was so under-the-radar that it’s actually possible to stream this for free if you know where to look for it. But one thing remains a constant when this film is brought up in conversation: it is far better than it is ever given credit for.

The story itself provides a realistic reason why the found footage aspect is being used. It is treated almost like a documentary with interspliced interviews that accompany, and foreshadow, the footage you are watching alongside them. All of the characters feel like real people with real motivation. The setting inside the tunnels is dank and decrepit, feeling like an urban ‘The Descent’, or like a more concrete and formal ‘As Above, So Below’. The reveal of the threat doesn’t truly show itself until a bit passed the halfway point, and it was something that caught me off guard. It is creepy, unnerving, and rather unpredictable in its approach.

While it isn’t a film that’s going to blow you away in this day and age, it is
certainly a strong entry in the found footage subgenre and a wonderful representation of contemporary Australian horror – which in itself is a region that Americans hardly encounter. It’s a good popcorn flick and a good ‘watch alone with headphones on’ experience at the same time. If you’ve never heard of this one, you’re welcome.
“The Tunnel” is a bit hard to track down, but it is currently available for rent on YouTube, and available as a NOW​ sold out collector’s edition BluRay from Umbrella Entertainment.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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