Director: Park Gyu-Taek
Cast: Jung Yu-mi, Yeon Woo-jin, Soung Jae-lim, Min Do Hee, Woo Hee, Lee Si-won, Son Byung-ho, Song Sam-dong, Lee Jae-hee
RunTime: 1 hr 27 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Sexual Scenes and Horror)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 11 June 2014
Synopsis: Starring Korean up-and-coming popular stars, including Jung Yu-mi (Rooftop Prince), Yeon Woo-jin (When a Man Falls in Love) and Soung Jae-lim (Moon Embracing the Sun), Kpop girl group members Min Do Hee (Tiny-G) and Woo Hee (DalShabet), THE TUNNEL tells a story of a group of friends who kill an old man by accident. They decide to throw away the body in the coal mine, but get caught inside the dark tunnels facing the buried horrors within. Will they be able to escape out of the dark tunnel?
The Tunnel is a story that revolves around a group of friends who went to a new concept holiday resort which is refurbished from a coal mine facility. At the opening party, an uninvited guest – a hideous looking and unkempt old man – appeared and warned them of the dark curse and black blood. However, none of them heeded his advice and stayed on for their holiday.
Later, the old man reappeared near the bungalow the group of friends was staying at. He went hysterical and even turned violent in his bid to chase them out of the vicinity. Seeing that the life of his girlfriend was being threatened, the leader of the group accidentally killed the old man. Desperate to conceal this accident, they decided to dispose the body at the coal mine where no one visits. Little did they know that they had already started the journey of no return…
The Tunnel barely qualifies to be known as a horror-thriller. No doubt there were disturbing scenes which were pretty much ‘in your face’, they were weak in execution and hardly value adds the movie. The ‘ghost’ at the vicinity was also non-existent as the story developed to a frenzied and senseless massacre. The ‘great’ revelation of the motive behind the killing was also lackluster and lacked impact, simply because the setting up of it was too deliberate from the beginning.
The story later suddenly switched tone, and went into the standard Korean league to be sappy and melodramatic. However, those scenes too were jarring and did not flow well with the already weak narrative. The emotional scenes also came across as too over the top and felt isolated from the rest of the movie.
Although the cast is touted to be the ‘up and coming popular Kpop stars’, clearly they do not belong to the A-line league and lacked maturity in their acting. The attempt to sensationalize and sexualize the female cast, e.g. an entire frame which focused on Woo Hee’s spread legs, was also too obvious - honestly quite a turn off.
Disappointedly, The Tunnel did not manage to break out of the slum of Korean horror movies. Looks like it will take quite a long while till we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
(Once you get into The Tunnel, it’s 87 minutes of your life wasted and of no return)
Review by Tho Shu Ling