Found Footage movies are now ten a penny (probably even more than that – or less, depending how you roll). They’re a cheap way of making a movie, and the success of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, showed that they can also be very profitable. However, most films in the horror sub-genre are lacklustre at best. I went into The Tunnel with trepidation, but left very impressed.
The Tunnel follows a television crew on an excursion into the vast tunnel system under Sydney, where they are following a story about the city’s water shortage. However, they encounter more than just darkness – much more. The film takes the form of a documentary based around their footage, as well as talking head interviews from the survivors. It’s what you would expect, but what makes The Tunnel stand out from other found footage movies is the quality of the acting – it’s great. The highlight being first time actor (and real-life cameraman) Steve Davis, who has the charisma of a genuine movie star.
The production of The Tunnel was funded by selling-off single frames of footage via an internet campaign, and it was a unique way of funding an independent film, using an established genre (the brainchild of writer/producers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey). The Tunnel avoids many of the pitfalls of other found footage movies, by creating a cohesive narrative, as well as having an ending that doesn’t feel abrupt. Carlo Ledesma’s film also begins with a good deal of character development, which (again) unlike similar films, means that you actually care for those in peril. The final act my just be a lot of running around in the dark, ditching the slow build of tension that has gone before, but that’s what is to be expected of such a film.
The Tunnel shows that there might just be life (and light) left in the over used found footage sub-genre.
A great batch of extra material means that if you enjoyed the film (or played a part in its funding) then you get much more bang for your buck – including an alternate ending (rightly excised) and a great 70 minute making-of.