Death Tunnel (2005) Review

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Back in the early and mid-00’s I followed the horror genre a lot more than I do today. I kept a close eye on websites and publications that dealt with films in the works, upcoming releases and things of that ilk, and I remember, one day, coming across a synopsis for a film called Death Tunnel. Now, forgive me, but when I read the plot outline for the film I had a feeling that it might be a cool movie, and I added it to a list of horror flicks that I wanted to keep an eye out for. Fast-forward a few months and an E-bay search or two, and I ordered a Japanese import of an American horror film, and Death Tunnel was on its way to me in the mail. Hurray? Right? Well, let’s see shall we?

Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth wrote this film, with Philip also directing. Philip has gone on to do a number of low budget horror films, but suffice to say, after seeing this, his debut, I took a step back and refrained from seeing anything else he came out with. But surely it can’t be that bad, you may say. All I can respond with is, read on.

The story here follows five students (sexy co-ed’s you may also refer to them as) who have a college-style initiation that involves them spending a night in a derelict and abandoned asylum, a place that was known to have been the location of many deaths due to a mysterious plague in the past. We follow these girls as they investigate (or wander around aimlessly, perhaps) the sanatorium, and suddenly find that they are being stalked by a host of ghosts.

Now, looking back on it, I understand that this synopsis isn’t exactly the best, but I am a sucker for horror films set in abandoned old buildings, asylums and such. Session 9 (2001) is one of my favourite horror flicks. I figured that this might be a decent little romp with a cool, haunting setting. I was mistaken, and some ten years after watching it, it is still there in my brain, rotting like a rancid hunk of meat, as one of the worst films I’ve sat and watched in my lifetime. I’m not going to just insult and rip a hole in the film without reason though, because that isn’t what I’m about. I’ll give you my reasons.

The acting here, from a cast of people I hadn’t seen prior, and haven’t seen since (that I know of), was not bad. Not bad at all. Nope, bad is too good a word, strangely. The acting here was atrocious. Horrific. Fucking awful. The girls, supposedly terrified as they wander around in not-much-clothing, look like they are suffering from perhaps a mild case of diarrhoea rather than their lives being in jeopardy from a bunch of bloodthirsty ghouls.  The location, possibly the best part, still isn’t treated great. Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a real place in Kentucky, but I’m afraid it just couldn’t save the film, nor even make it easier to handle. I don’t know how a film can take all the atmosphere and tension from a dark old hospital, but this manages it. There is no tension. There is no feeling of impending death and doom. We understand that the characters may die, but sadly, we just don’t care.

Now, I understand that this was a directorial debut, and perhaps there was so much amateur work in play that this was never going to be a good film, but that doesn’t help me, does it? The acting and direction aside, there is nothing else good here either. Sometimes a film is hideous but has good cinematography or a decent score. Death Tunnel is as flat as a trampled vinyl record. It’s as welcome as a case of the clap. It’s just horrid, and has no redeeming quality going for it. You might also wonder that maybe, with the film being as bad as this, that it makes it funny. No. It’s also dull and lifeless, so it isn’t even the kind of bad movie that you can giggle along with.

I can’t possibly recommend you ever watch this film. Leave it well alone, and even if you’re the kind of person who becomes incredibly curious about something that is supposed to be terrible, please try to refrain from spending your hard earned pennies on this pile of crap.

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