During a water shortage, the government decides to use some long-abandoned underground tunnels as water reservoirs. When the plan is suddenly dropped without explanation, and rumours are heard of homeless people disappearing in the tunnels, a journalist and film crew decide to go in and investigate.
The locations used for this Australian found footage horror film are fantastic. Abandoned tunnels, derelict World War II rooms, and a labyrinth of dark, narrow, brick-lined passageways - they provide a fascinating and very creepy setting. The story is intriguing, and with the use of handheld cameras, night vision, and limited lighting, surely it would be difficult to go wrong with this.
Apparently no it would not. Way too much time is spent watching 'talking head' shots of two of the characters being interviewed after the event. They keep referring to the terrible things that happened down there, without actually telling us anything about them. And within 20 minutes I badly wanted to fast forward through all this to find the bit where something actually happens.
After half an hour of me feeling bored and quite irritated by all the interview stuff, the characters are finally seen entering the tunnel. The first really creepy scenes begin, but any tension is spoiled by the interruptions from more talking head sequences and voiceovers. Rather than moving the story along, I found this technique just kept taking me out of the film by breaking the flow.
Despite spending so much time talking to the camera, none of the characters are at all likeable, and there was nobody I could relate to. I simply didn't care if they got out alive or not. And as two of them are discussing the events in the present day, there wasn't really much tension about who would or wouldn't make it. When the sound technician disappears and they are desperately searching for him and calling his name ("Tangles! Tangles") it sounds too much like they're looking for a lost cat, and it's almost impossible to take seriously.
At around the half way mark, things change for the better. The talking heads are eventually dropped, and tension is allowed to build by itself. The creepy location and atmosphere come into their own, and some scenes are very scary indeed. Very scary. The creature is glimpsed but never clearly seen, and this works brilliantly. Sadly I wonder if other people might have already given up and turned off before getting here. I had certainly wanted to.
It's definitely a film in two halves. The first is slow, boring and annoying. The second is tense, atmospheric and scary. If the film had been better edited, this could have made a great horror film (or maybe horror short). If you haven't seen it, my advice would be to skip the first 45 minutes, and fast forward any time you see a character being interviewed on screen. Believe me, you won't miss much. And you'll be left with about half an hour of good stuff. 2/5