"Tunnel (2016)" is written and directed by Kim Seong-hoon and follows Jeong-soo (played by Ha Jung-Woo), a business man with Kia Motors in South Korea, who becomes trapped inside a mountain when the tunnel he is driving through collapses on top of him. "Tunnel" is being released here in the United States on DVD by Well Go USA Entertainment on May 2nd, 2017.
"Tunnel" is a film I went into knowing very little about. The plot had me intrigued and for the most part, I enjoyed the film, but it did take a few turns that I could have done without. One of my favorite films in recent years is "Buried (2010)", which stars Ryan Reynolds as a man trapped inside a buried coffin. Going into "Tunnel", I was hoping for a film similar to "Buried" where the focus would be on Jeong-soo who is trapped in the car, just maybe not exclusively like in "Buried". Unfortunately, this just isn't the case. This film spends a good bit of time outside of the collapsed mountain and for me, this was where the film struggled the most.
For the most part, the moments in the film that are spent with Jeong-soo trapped inside the mountain are excellent. I don't want to spoil anything, I so I will just quickly say that the story does take a short and unnecessary detour inside the mountain. But other than that, the time spent inside the mountain was very tense and the filmmakers used some fancy camera work to give the viewer a very claustrophobic feeling when watching those scenes. I also wanted to commend the sound team on their use of surround sound. When you are in the mountain with Jeong-soo you will hear rocks falling and other noises that further contribute to the sense of confinement you will be experiencing.
Outside of the mountain, the story focuses on everything from Jeong-soo wife to the rescue efforts, the governments involvement, and the press. For the most part, the story revolving around Jeong-soo's wife (played by DooNa Bae) and the rescue efforts, which are lead by Dae-kyeong (played by Oh Dal-Su), worked well with the rest of the film. It is the last two in that list that I felt to be completely unnecessary. The way the government was interjecting themselves into the situation, but not really helping at all and the comedic swarms of press that at points hinder the rescue efforts, while pretty accurate, they just felt unnecessary and the film film would have been better off without them.
Overall, "Tunnel" is an enjoyable film. The films has a runtime for 2h 6m and a good 30 - 40m of that runtime were spent on unnecessary storylines that could have easily been cut from the film. The film could have been much better if they would have cut down the runtime and stayed focused on the rescue efforts and the survival of Jeong-soo inside the collapsed mountain. I give "Tunnel" a 6 out of 10.
The US release of "Tunnel" by Well Go USA Entertainment for the most part is very basic. It is a DVD only release with no Blu-Ray or Digital HD copy included. As far as extras the disc only offers its own trailer as well as 3 additional Korean film trailers including "The Prison", "Train To Busan" (which is excellent!), and "The Wailing".
The quality of both the audio and video is pretty solid. The video quality is crisp and clear and makes great use of lighting for some of the darker confined scenes. As I mentioned earlier, when you are inside the mountain with Jeong-soo's character, the use of sound is excellent and that is thanks to a high quality Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
The DVD might not offer much in the way of extras, but it is very beautiful physical release. The slipcover features a stunning matte black finish that is soft to the touch and gives the cover a very distinct look. It makes great use of images to introduce you to the films story and characters at a quick glimpse. The physical disk also features a dark and ominous image of a vehicle driving through a blacked out tunnel.
Often times with smaller releases like this, you will get a release that feels rushed and while the extras are practically nonexistent, you can tell that great detail went into the physical look of this release and the picture and audio quality. As much as I wish it was available on Blu-Ray, I would still highly recommend picking up this DVD. The film is enjoyable and the disk will standout beautifully on any DVD collectors shelf.