The Tunnel (2011 film)
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Promotional teaser poster
|Directed by||Carlo Ledesma|
|Distributed by||Distracted Media|
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.
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 engineer) 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. Later, the group heads to the room where the WWII air raid bell is. To get footage of the bell ringing, Natasha hits 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 have disappeared. 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. Reviewing the footage, it is revealed that something had picked up the camera and is stalking them.
The crew ventures through the tunnel, trying 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 the narrow tunnels. 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, they discover the security guard, his eyes missing and whimpering in pain in the shallows of the lake. The crew watches in horror as a tall, emaciated humanoid appears behind him and murders him by brutally twisting his neck until it breaks. 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. Entering this new room, they find signs of some living being, and a small pile of human flesh. 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 it 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'.
- Bel Deliá as Natasha Warner
- Andy Rodoreda as Peter Ferguson
- Steve Davis as Steve Miller
- Luke Arnold as Jim ‘Tangles’ Williams
- Goran D. Kleut as Stalker
- James Caitlin as Trevor Jones
- Russell Jeffrey as Sef
- Gordyn Shazell as Gordy
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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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
The film was released on DVD by House Lights Media Partners on December 27, 2011.
The Tunnel was shown in only one theater during its entire theatrical run, limiting its box-office earnings. It grossed $507 during its opening weekend. During its second week, it grossed $318. It eventually grossed a total of $1,348 which, compared to its budget of $135,000 was a box office bomb.
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Critical reception for the film has been mostly positive. Richard Kuipers from Variety gave the film a positive review, writing, "Making the most of super-atmospheric locations never previously seen in an Aussie feature, debut helmer Carlo Ledesma is well served by his convincing quartet of thesps. Special kudos goes to Steve Davis, a real-life cameraman who performs impressively while also filming a sizable portion of the finished product". However, Kuipers felt that the film failed to reveal anything on the malevolent presence that lurked in the darkness. James Mudge from Beyond Hollywood.com gave the film a positive review, writing, "Though “The Tunnel” nevertheless remains above average and better crafted than most of the never-ending stream of found footage horrors, these missteps prevent it from shaking off the shackles of the form or from finding appeal outside dedicated fans. Still, there’s enough here to make the prospect of a sequel not unpalatable, and despite its faults the film does manage to raise the pulse rate from time to time". It currently has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.8/10 from 5 reviews. However audience reviews have been considerably more negative.
- 17th Annual AIMIA Awards:
- Best Use Of Social Media, Viral Or Word of Mouth (Ahmed Salama)
- A Night of Horror International Film Festival:
- Screamfest Horror Film Festival:
- Best Special Effects - 2011
- Australian Directors Guild Awards | 2010:
- Cross Platform Interactive (Ahmed Salama)
- 17th Annual AIMIA Awards:
- Peoples Choice Award (Ahmed Salama)
In March 2012 it was announced that a sequel to The Tunnel is planned. 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.
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Filmmakers bet on BitTorrent for a hit, by Adam Fulton, 17 May 2011
- The Hollywood Reporter: Australian Crowd-Fund Feature 'The Tunnel' Gets BitTorrent Release, by Pip Bulbeck, 18 May 2011
- Popcorn Taxi: Blog, 19 May 2011
- GigaOm: Horror movie debuts on BitTorrent and TV simultaneously by Janko Roettgers, 18 May 2011
- "The Tunnel (2011) - Carlo Ledesma". AllMovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "The Tunnel (2011) (2011) - Weekend Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Kuipers, Richard. "The Tunnel". Variety.com. Richard Kuipers. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Mudge, James. "The Tunnel (2011) Movie Review". Beyond Hollywood.com. James Mudge. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "The Tunnel Movie - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Encore Magazine: ADG nominates top directors of the year, 30 August 2010
- Award Winners From A Night of Horror Film Festival, 13 April 2011
- Australian Interactive Media Industry Association: Best Use Of Social Media, Word-of-Mouth or Viral
- Dallas, Sam. "Screen Australia helps fund The Tunnel sequel - The Tunnel: Dead End". If.com. Sam Dallas. Retrieved 1 May 2016.