The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Grave Encounters + The Tunnel | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Grave Encounters + The Tunnel

Grave Encounters
Directed by: The Vicious Brothers
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray

The Tunnel
Directed by: Carlo Ledesma
Starring: Bel Delia, Andy Rodereda, Steve Davis, Luke Arnold

Screenwriting guru Robert McKee said that his best advice for low-budget film-makers was to find one great location and confine your movie to it. Both these movies have great locations, in "Grave Encounters" it's an abandoned psychiatric institute, in "The Tunnel" it's the disused tunnels below Sydney. They both share the found footage sub-genre which for me has outstayed it's welcome at this stage.
"Grave Encounters" follows the crew of one of those cheesy paranormal investigation shows as they spend the night in a former psychiatric hospital. Unlike their previous episodes, this time they've stumbled upon the genuine article, an actual haunted building. This starts off pretty well but in the second half of the movie it ratchets up the shocks to a ridiculous level. The end result is like watching someone videotape their ride on a ghost train.
In "The Tunnel" our protagonists are a news crew investigating evidence of a community of homeless people living underground. They quickly realise something is living in the tunnels but it sure isn't a vagrant. This is the superior of the two and keeps things a lot more subtle but it's really nothing we haven't seen in every other movie of it's ilk. Like most Australian films the acting here is top-notch, especially in the talking heads scenes where characters recount the events.
Essentially both these movies are just extended versions of the last fifteen minutes of "Rec". What they lack is the tense build-up that led us to those last fifteen minutes.
if you want to see this sort of thing done well then check out the first "Paranormal Activity", both "Rec" movies, and the Aussie chiller "Lake Mungo". Maybe the upcoming "Paranormal Activity 3" will prove me wrong but I don't see this genre having anything more to contribute at this stage.

Grave Encounters: 3/10
The Tunnel: 4/10