Death Tunnel (2005)

When a group of obnoxious college students decide to have an initiation in an old sanitarium things don’t go as planned.  You see they chose the place because of how spooky it is, without realizing that it was truly haunted.  So instead of scaring the hell out of the girls with pretend spooks they get the shock of their lives as the actual ghosts kill them.  Ghosts that are reliving their doomed history thru the students, who in a strange (and forced) twist are the descendants of some of the saddest inhabitants of the place.  Will any of them make it out alive and will they want to? 

Initially this just seemed like a poorly scripted movie.  The story starts off slowly and spends way too much time explaining how everyone ended up at the haunted hospital.  This includes jarring flashbacks that pull the action away from the hospital just as the movie is trying to build atmosphere, effectively killing it.  The characters are underdeveloped and over the top.  They are more caricatures than they are characters with the archetypes that you would expect in a movie like this readily apparent.  The story is very simple, but never seems to find it’s way and finishes up with a twist that is both unexpected and unsatisfying.  Overall it is just a poorly written movie. 

The cast is bad.  There just isn’t any other way to say it.  There isn’t a good performance in the bunch.  The girls are cute and spend the entire movie in their lingerie that is until they die.  But I really wish that they could of delivered a line or showed some emotions that actually looked real.  The performances are so bad that I actually was having a hard time telling the cast apart and keeping track of who was alive and dead, which is never a good sign. 

Lets talk about the technical aspects of the movie.  Shaky camera work dominates all of the attack scenes, of which there aren’t enough.  There isn’t any on screen violence and only a couple of shots of bodies afterwards.  This movie is also guilty of committing a new pet peeve of mine, bodies that breath.  Notice I said bodies because this happens multiple times, including in close-up shots of on actress who is clearly breathing and blinking!  How do you miss this?  And even if you missed it on set why keep it in your movie?  There are several attempts at jump scares that are ruined by the musical cue building up and cluing the audience in on the upcoming scare.  Also speaking of music this movie managed to avoid the blaring industrial songs that are I suppose required of modern low budget movies until towards the end where one shows up for a chase sequence.  The one really cool thing this movie has going for it is it’s location, Waverly Hills.  This place is genuinely creepy and the movie puts the setting to good use.  In many ways it is the best character in the whole movie.

This is a bad movie.  I’ve read on the internet from fans of this flick that we just don’t understand.  The director was trying to weave in “actual” experiences from Waverly Hills.  Guess what.  I just don’t care.  I know all about Waverly Hills and this movie is still a mess and boring as hell.  Sorry this isn’t any excuse or substitution for plot, character, and in the case of a horror movie gore.  I don’t recommend Death Tunnel.

1 out of 4

reviewed by John Shatzer

© Copyright 2009 John Shatzer