The Tunnel (2011 film)

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The Tunnel
The Tunnel (2011 film).jpg
Promotional teaser poster
Directed by Carlo Ledesma
Produced by
Written by
Starring
  • Bel Deliá
  • Andy Rodoreda
  • Steve Davis
  • Luke Arnold
  • Goran D. Kleut
  • James Caitlin
  • Russell Jeffrey
Music by
  • Paul Dawkins
Cinematography
  • Shing Fung Cheung
  • Steve Davis
Edited by
  • Julian Harvey
  • Enzo Tedeschi
Production
  company
Distributed by Distracted Media
Release date(s)
  • 18 May 2011 (2011-05-18)
Running time 90 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget $36,000

The Tunnel is a 2011 Australian horror film directed by Carlo Ledesma, and co-written, co-produced and co-edited by Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi. The film stars Bel Deliá, Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis, Luke Arnold, Goran D. Kleut and James Caitlin, in a documentary-style horror story set in the underground network of abandoned railway tunnels in Sydney, Australia.

Plot[edit]

In 2007, in the midst of the drought and water shortages, the New South Wales State government has unveiled plans to recycle millions of litres of water trapped in a network of abandoned train tunnels beneath the heart of Sydney. However, the government suddenly goes cold on the plan and it does not tell the public why. There is talk of homeless people who use the tunnel as shelter going missing. This, and the silence from the ministers, leads a journalist, Natasha, to begin an investigation into a government cover-up. She and her crew Peter (producer), Steven (Camera operator) and Tangles (Audio engineering) decide to investigate the story and plan to enter the tunnels themselves. After being refused entry to the tunnels by a security guard, they find an alternate entry and make their way inside. They proceed to explore the tunnels and locate various abandoned homeless squats and sections used as air raid shelters in the 1940s.

They come upon a huge underground lake and while filming, Tangles hears strange noises through the audio headphones. However, he takes it as a joke and the group heads to the room where the WWII air raid bell is. To get footage of the bell ringing, Natasha hits on it but Tangles says it is distorting the audio. He decides to take the boom-mike into an adjoining room to reduce the sound levels, leaving Peter with the headphones to listen for distortion in the bell volume. Natasha hits it again and Peter hears something very disturbing in the headphones. Tangles' audio cable is suddenly pulled through the opening, snapping and disappearing. The rest of the crew panics and goes to look for Tangles.

The scene switches to the interview, where Natasha is allowed to hear this recording for the first time. As the sound of the bell plays, screams of agony can be clearly heard before the headphone wire snaps. Upon going back to the bell room, the crew finds that all their equipment is gone. While searching for Tangles, they find a room blocked off by corrugated metal. Natasha places down the camera to help Peter and Steve. They get into the room and are horrified to find blood everywhere and Tangles' abandoned torch. At the entrance of the room, Natasha picks up the camera, seeing that it was not where she had left it, so they review the footage and a glimpse of whatever it was that had picked the camera up is seen. Someone is apparently stalking them.

The crew ventures through the tunnel, wishing to find a way out. They hear noises of a person calling down, and come upon the security guard that had earlier refused them entry. They tell him that one of their crew has gone missing but the guard tells them to quickly follow him and get out. Something pounces on the guard as he nears a corner, dragging him out of sight. The group flees, screaming in terror through blood-spattered corridors. They hide in a room and stay there until they decide the creature has gone. Trying to find a way out, they return to the underground lake. Hearing something, they extinguish all light and use the night-vision camera to look towards the sound. There, Natasha watches as the security guard, with water up to his chest and whimpering with pain, is murdered by what appears to be an emaciated, tall humanoid. It twists the security guard's head completely around, snapping his neck. Natasha lets out a scream, attracting the creature's attention, and the terrified group runs.

They come to a dead-end with a barred opening into a street above them, and continue searching for an exit. At one point, the creature attempts to grab Peter. However, as Steven shines the camera's light on them, the creature immediately retreats. Steven realizes that the creature is vulnerable to light. Upon reaching another dead-end, Natasha discovers a side route. Upon entering this new room, they find signs of some living being, and a small pile of fresh human eyeballs. The main camera loses power, causing Steve to frantically attempt to replace the battery. Just as the power switches the light on again, the creature attacks, knocking Peter and Steven to the ground. Natasha, panic-stricken, runs off with the night-vision camera. On her own, she stays in silence, but is confronted by the creature, who cracks the camera lens as it grabs at her, dragging her with the small camera still recording. Steven and Peter follow the sound of her screams and the creature's movements.

Through the night-vision camera, it is shown that Natasha is dragged back to the lake. The creature attempts to drown Natasha but before it can succeed, Steven and Peter use the light to chase it away. As Steven helps Natasha, Peter is heard screaming and challenging the creature, drawing them away from the other two. Steven manages to drag Natasha to a well-lit tunnel near a train station. They rush back and drag a badly-wounded Peter to the safety of the train platform. There, captured on CCTV, Natasha begs for help. The crew ends up staying in the tunnel all night.

In the epilogue, it is stated that the coroner found that Peter died from extensive internal bleeding. Natasha resigned after the underground shoot, no longer working as a journalist. Steven still works as a news cameraman. Tangles' whereabouts remained unknown and his family are still searching for answers. The police investigation was closed due to 'contradictory evidence'.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was funded using a crowd-funded financing model, as part of the 135k Project, where the film's writer-producers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey sold individual digital frames of the film for A$1, to try and raise the film's A$135,000 target budget. However this method only managed to raise approximately A$36,000, so the filmmakers exerted a certain "creativity" to complete the film with this limited budget.[1][2]

Principal photography took place in Sydney, comprising on-location shoots in some of the city's disused underground tunnels, as well as a public pool and the Navy's WWII air raid shelters at Garden Island.[2] It was shot non-sequentially in 14 days (including pick-ups), and then edited by the writing-producing team of Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey.[3]

Release[edit]

The film has been noted for its modes of release and distribution. In addition to its conventional modes of release, including a limited Australian theatrical release, screenings on Showtime Australia, and an Australian and New Zealand DVD release through Paramount Pictures Australia and Transmission Films, also released in North America in the theater and DVD by Blackrock Films, the film has garnered much attention for its unconventional release through BitTorrent. The Tunnel is the first Australian film to be distributed and promoted legally through the BitTorrent internet downloading platform, a release strategy which could potentially expose the film to tens of millions of people, for free.[1][2] This free and legal online release is a cooperation between the filmmakers, peer-to-peer distribution platform VODO and BitTorrent Inc., which is distributing the film through an app on its client.[4]

On 18 May 2011 The Tunnel had its official premiere at Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction, at a Popcorn Taxi screening and Q&A event, and was also released simultaneously on DVD, TV and BitTorrent.[4]

Awards[edit]

Prior to its completion, The Tunnel earned an award and a nomination for its innovative online campaign.[5] The Tunnel has continued to receive award recognition in the festival circuit.[6]

Won
Nominations
  • Australian Directors Guild Awards | 2010:
    • Cross Platform Interactive (Ahmed Salama)[5]
  • 17th Annual AIMIA Awards:
    • Peoples Choice Award (Ahmed Salama)

Sequel[edit]

In March 2012 it was announced that a sequel to The Tunnel is planned.[citation needed] The project is called The Tunnel: Dead-End and circles around a sibling who searches for her brother who got lost in the tunnels. It was also announced that Robert Chavez would direct the sequel.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]