Trailer Beats the Movie- “Death Tunnel” (2005)

Saved from a misleading* horror trailer again. This is only my second entry in my little “The Trailer Beats the Movie” series, but I can tell it’s going to be a frequent one. If I can save even one fellow horror fan 90 minutes of their life, I’ll be happy!

I’ve been on a Disturbing Haunted Asylum Flick-kick the past couple months, so the description below seemed like a good idea to check out. There’s some pretty goddamned scary fright films set in asylums out there, but every time that I read one is based on true events, the events manage to blow the movie out of the water. My imagination does the rest, even if that’s not a good thing because I need my sleep that night.

Here’s the official PR synopsis used to plug the film– it actually could have been better-written, but at least is descriptive to a point: When an initiation ceremony goes awry and five college girls become stranded in a haunted sanatorium with a wicked past, they struggle to uncover the dark secrets that lie within and make it out alive in filmmaker Philip Adrian Booth’s dark tale of supernatural terror. Deep within the darkened halls of a massive Kentucky sanatorium built in 1910, 63,000 lives were lost to the mysterious “White Plague.” Now, decades after the historic tragedy, the abandoned sanatorium remains haunted by five lost souls whose spirits can’t find rest in the natural world. As the terrified girls fall one by one to the vengeful specters, the discovery of a massive, 500-foot underground tunnel used to dispose of the bodies may provide the only escape from a world where the cold hand of death maintains a frightful grip on the pulse of the living.

The parts in the description above that caught my eye :

  • Initiation ceremony (for what, I don’t know)
  • Abandoned sanatorium (massive and set in Kentucky don’t hurt) remains haunted
  • Built in 1910
  • 63,000 lives lost mysteriously

Big Red Flags:

  • the lives were ‘lost mysteriously’ to the “White Plague”
  • the phrase ‘terrified girls fall one by one’
  • five college girls become stranded
  • the clumsy phrase a world where the cold hand of death maintains a frightful grip on the pulse of the living.
  • a positive endorsement from Bloody-Disgusting**

And here’s the HD trailer, which I can assure you in a more satisfying, interesting, entertaining experience than sitting through the movie. Some people couldn’t even make it past the first half hour. Holds a little potential, right? Right?

This trailer makes the movie look like it’s worth a watch, huh? OK, let me get another bitch out of the way here. The fact that there used to be a website for the movie that told some back-story that might be cool (and cooler than the movie, for sure) and that the website is still there but none of the links work (which I guess is due to the 7-year time gap from the movie’s DTV release till now) further pisses me off.  One of the taglines used to promote the film is (or is a variation on): Five Girls. Five Floors. Five Ghosts. OOo, back story! Nope. As I said, they kept all the “art” up, but the five links on each page (the girls, the floors, the ghosts) just go to an annoying 404-type “Blogspot” error pop-up.

Make the links all work, but wait till we get right to the actual text before we get a “Oops! This Page no longer Exists!” message. We horror fans looooove that shit!

Look, just take the goddamned thing down, OK?  The DVD/poster art is terrible and an actual deterrent unless someone viewing it has an intense diving-helmet fetish. Even they’d be let down, since nothing remotely like this appears in the film.

Death Tunnel DVD Cover “Art”. Is that supposed to scare us?

What are the elements that make this movie a piece of shit to be avoided at all costs, even on DVD,  you ask? Believe me, I’ve done my homework to glean this information. Believe it or not, I actually had to pare the list down to ten bullet points. The general consensus from unfortunate fans, viewers, and reviewers includes, but is not limited to:

  • Editing that is choppy at best,  but more often infuriating and nonsensical. “Horrible” was the adjective used most to describe it.
  •  Story hard to follow for viewers of all ages and IQ levels; most reports emphatically state that it makes no fucking sense at all.
  • unnecessary flash-forwards and flash-backs (not that anyone was able to discern the flashbacks from the flash-forwards) that manage to confuse the shit out of the most patient viewer, while giving NO explanation (let alone back story),whatsoever
  • total % of Death Tunnel containing shocks, thrills, and scares varies from next-to-nothing to nothing (a deal-breaker for a horror film/thriller on its own)
  • PACKED with horror clichés, also rips off nearly every plot element, twist, and “jump scene” (whether the movie actually contains any is doubtful, however), and sequence from other, better movies
  •  a great potential atmosphere/setting was tossed to the floor and pissed all over
  • Acting ability that reportedly ranges from, “it might have been the poor material and dialogue that made the acting seem terrible” to “NO EXCUSE for the pathetic, wretched acting”.
  • characters impossible to root for; unlikable at best. Described repeatedly as whiny, bitchy, boring, spoiled, irritating morons. Also, they were difficult to discern from one another, adding to the mess they called a plot
  • terrible pacing, consisting of a shitty jumble of disjointed ideas and scenes that have little to do with one another, stumbling towards an ending that most agree merely describing as “nonsensical” is far too kind
  • definitely no fun to be had in any aspect. For example, some people were unfortunate enough to rent this hoping for a cheesy B-movie, amateurish flavor they could have a chuckle at. Their hopes collapsed like a flimsy house of cards within the first five minutes.

D-E-T-H? OK, now you’re not even fucking trying. There’s room for an A on the chick in front, but nope! They couldn’t be bothered.

OK! I think that just about covers it, but it is also rare to hear (especially repeatedly) that many horror fans had to force themselves to keep watching because a movie was unbearably atrocious, and even then had to turn it off around the 30-minute mark before their head exploded. Many returned to the movie the next day to watch the remainder before the rental period was over, and every single person I heard from deeply regretted this decision, most ashamed and disgusted with themselves for having the terrible judgement to do so.

Other than that, it sounds great, though!

*misleading in that it makes the movie look like something cool or fun, enough to give it a rental of free watch, anyway.

**Trust me, I’ve got my reasons for that snarky remark. Rather than blurt them out here on what is more or less a public forum, I’m going to exercise some rare restraint. Drop me an email if you’d like me to elaborate.

So, What Do You Fellow Horror Fans Think?

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