Customer Reviews: Death Tunnel
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on March 15, 2016
I showed this in my film class as as social experiment. My students were used to in-depth thought provoking films within the horror genre. I wanted to see what their reactions (positive or negative) would be upon completion. Reviews were mostly poor although some students enjoyed how bad it was. Trust me, it's bad.I'd give in no stars if I could.
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on September 2, 2008
What the Heck did I just watch here? Appearently, Death Tunnel is based on the true life hauntings of a Kentucky Sanatorium (actually used in the film) where thousands were sent and died of various dieases like Tuberculosis. The "Death Tunnel" as the title implies, was a shaft that the dead were taken through and carted away....

...but all that doesn't matter because that's not what this movie's about. Simply put, five empty-headed girls are brought to the sanatorium for some initiation to survive for five hours. But unknown to them, they all have some sort of family tie to it's previous generation's victims, and the ghosts are anything but pleased they're there.

Ah, blah blah blah, it doesn't make any difference because this movie stinks. Playing out like some decent looking rip-off between House On Haunted Hill '99 and Thir13en Ghosts '01, it's really hard to follow. It jumps all over the place from present, past, and not ever happening in an instant. And even if there was a little more nudity in this film it still wouldn't make me care any more about them. The acting's weak that if I wanted to see five over-hysterical women act this badly, I'd go tell my wife's family the turkey's dry at Thanksgiving. The only real reason this flix is gettin a 5 from me is the included documentary on the actual Waverly Hills Sanatorium which is more entertaining than the movie it's based on. And yes, the cinematography's not so bad, and it looked like it had a decent budget, but nothing could scare up a worthwhile script no matter how crazy you are. I think I want my $3 back.
(RedSabbath Rating:5.0/10)
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Five girls. Five floors. Five hours. And believe you me, it will feel like every second of five hours before you finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel that is The End. Now I knew going in that most people hated this movie, but I still wanted to see it, dadgummit. After all, five sexy coeds in a haunted sanitorium can't be all that bad, can it? The answer is a resounding Yes - it can and is that bad. This isn't the kind of bad movie that totally amateur filmmakers might go out and shoot over the course of a weekend, either. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to make a horror movie this wretchedly awful. Apparently, it helps when the producer and director dress like Axl Rose. The direction is terrible, jumping back and forth between the actual initiation and the leadup to it for at least the first half of the film and leaving a number of logistical questions completely unanswered. Still, the brunt of the blame must fall upon the writers of this incoherent mess, for they truly deserve to be run out of town by a mob of pitchfork-wielding villagers.

Kentucky's Waverly Hills Sanatorium serves as an ideal setting for the horrors that were supposed to be unleashed here (in fact, the most interesting thing on the whole DVD is the descriptions by cast and crew of some of the spooky things they really experienced there), but Death Tunnel does no favors to the very real history of this medical institution. The filmmakers reportedly used some actual EVP recordings in the movie, but, unfortunately, there is no explanation as to how these were obtained.

At least the five girls aren't bad looking at all, especially lead actress Steffany Huckaby. Don't look for too much in the way of nudity, however, as the filmmaking Booth Brothers obviously don't subscribe to the old "the worse the movie is, the more nudity you show" tradition (if they did, they would have had no need for a costumer at all). Not a single character is given an ounce of substance, so you could care less if and how any of them might die. What you have here are just five college girls chosen for a special initiation at a Truth or Scare party. One girl is deposited on each of the five floors (except they put two of them together for no apparent reason), and they have five hours to get out of the place by way of the infamous Death Tunnel. They know all this, and there are pictures and newspaper clippings everywhere identifying the place as an old sanitorium, yet it takes Heather, supposedly the smart one, almost seventy-five minutes to figure it out (which takes something away from what is supposed to be a climactic scene). And the ending? Don't even get me started on the ending.

A lot of work went into the special effects, but it's just a list of all your usual suspects - blurred images, shaking cameras, and computer-generated ghosts up the wazoo. In other words, it's nothing we haven't seen before, especially in the past few years. Personally, I found Death Tunnel about as scary as cutting my toenails. I could be nice and say the filmmakers probably just tried too hard to make this movie scary, but there's no getting beyond the fact that this is one rotten egg stinker of a horror movie.
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on August 29, 2014
This was a good movie, a perfect filck for halloween. Should become one to watch yearly for those who want a good thriller. There is a series of flashbacks at the start that could confuse some. Basically bouncing from a party to scenes of the girls already taken to Waverly. When the movie got started good, it was the type that makes you not want to get up and use the bathroom because you might miss a scene. I would highly recommend reading about some of the things that they say happened at Waverly Hills, such as the story of the nurse they say died there. This would give a better understanding about what the storyline is based on. It will make more sence and help one appreciate the creativity better. Who ever created the story did a good job. The filming itself and special effects Were really good. A lot of work apparently went into the making of this film. It certainly keeps the viewer wondering right up to the end. Also ghost hunters out there would love this as its filmed on location at what is known as one of the most haunted places on earth. So 5 stars for a super halloween flick.
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on June 8, 2006
Wow. I'll admit it. I saw phrases like haunted hospital and five coeds, and I bought this movie sight unseen. And let me say that first part again: Wow. There was so little sustenance here as to barely even constitute a movie. I found myself fascinated, more so because the story dealt with five nubile coeds in lingerie. I guess I'm just the sentimental type.

The movie involved five coeds being drawn together, dressed in little lingerie outfits each with one letter to spell the word D-E-A-T-H. Chills. The blood goes cold.

The Good: Crap aficionados may recognize the pixyishly attractive Heather as the prettiest girl from the abysmally abortive Scarecrow Gone Wild; she was the girl who was chased through the haystack labyrinth only to die as a precursor to the rest of the movie. Admittedly, I was also strongly drawn to the plump little villainess Ashley, who wasted no time in getting naked. Her dialogue did make me cringe, but I didn't care, I soldiered right on through it. Also, I'd like to mention Devon, a sultry exotic creature who balanced nicely against the two feisty blondes.

The Bad: With the exception of the coeds, everyone else made me nostalgic for the time I had my wisdom teeth removed. The suck factor was the dominant beast, I'm sorry to say, a terrible ravening entity, consuming everything with its vacuous force. Pretty much all of the supernatural element was a watered-down version of the same stuff from the remake of The House On Haunted Hill. I watched the documentary also included on the disk, and the filmmakers claimed to have actually put various recorded phantasma inside the movie. I watched it again, and lost my focus in favor of the coeds once again.

The Ugly: Zero focus. No cohesive element. No drive. No irony. They relied too much on the presence of the dank and virulent hospital itself, which was at least effective in its own rite, but not enough to glue the movie together. But you can get the same effect from Session 9, while simultaneously getting a terse and edgy movie in the process. I think the word plot is N/A in this particular situation, but further disappointments included the unexplained goggle-ghost that prowled the hospital throughout the movie with a clean-up cart, the ghost of the evil doctor who was literally a cliché-spewing machine, and the death tunnel itself, the purported focus of the entire movie---which got less play than poor doe-eyed Heather during her bit part in Scarecrow Gone Wild.

Would I recommend this movie? I don't feel qualified to say. But I do recommend the five coeds, and thus, in light of their brave and buoyant contribution to this desultory effort, I award this faux-movie three stars. I do not regret buying it, and have actually watched it four times.
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on August 15, 2014
with a cast of unknown actors that I feel did a great job,I love the horror. Based on an actual place that had so many deaths in it history. It only added to the horror story. I will be watching over and over.
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on July 17, 2011
Philip Adrian Booth's 2005 film "Death Tunnel" is a well-made horror flick about five college gals (in lingerie) locked in a huge abandoned sanatorium in Kentucky where 63,000 people died of the "white plague" in the early 20th century. It's supposed to be a college initiation, but things go sour when the ghosts of the plague victims show up!

I was surprised to discover that the acting was quite good by all the principles, at least for a Grade B horror flick. I say "surprised" because a few armchair critics diss the film for the supposed bad acting. Yes, there may be some side characters whose acting is questionable, but that's about it. A possible exception would be the girl who plays Ashley (Kristin Novak) and her over-the-top performance during the shower sequence, but this can be defended on the grounds that the script required a low camp approach to pull it off. How else could she deliver such dialog and be effective? She did it the way it had to be done.

"Death Tunnel" is amazing because of its entertaining style. As far as filmmaking technique goes, this is top-of-the-line all the way. One reviewer properly described it as "extremely impressive visual style combined with top notch kinetic editing work." It's impossible to watch this movie and not be wowed by the filmmaking technique, even if you don't like the story or the way it's told (more on this below). It boggles the mind to think of the time & effort put into creating this film. Such attention to detail and professionalism is rare, particularly in low-budget independent fare.

In addition to the filmmaking technique, the locations, cast and score/soundtrack are superb. The film was largely shot at Waverly Hills Sanatorium near Louisville, KY, which is a perfect location for a horror flick. The film also features numerous ultra-gorgeous women, including the ones trying in vain to get out of the sanatorium (e.g. Novak as Ashley, Melanie Lewis as Devon and Yolanda Pecoraro as Elizabeth), a couple of the ghosts and even more. It's Grade A on this front. There's also a genuine aura of creepiness and a few good scares. Plus the modern metal song "Disconnected" by 9 Volt Revolt is excellent (featured in both the story and the end credits) counterbalanced by the haunting score by Christopher Saint Booth.

All this gels together for a massively amusing work of celluloid.

There's only one problem and that's the way the story is told, which explains my mediocre rating the first time I viewed "Death Tunnel," not to mention the general negative reviews. The simple plot is presented in a very convoluted manner, mostly in the first act. There are so many flashbacks, flashforwards and flashbetweens it gets confusing and tempts the viewer to tune out during the first half hour. Moreover, there's almost zero build-up of suspense due to the flashforwarding and the fact that the girls are shown whining in terror from their outset in the sanatorium. Thankfully, the story settles down in the second and third acts where it focuses on the five girls trying to get out of the sanatorium.

I suspect the Booth brothers took this non-linear approach in the first act to disorient the viewer right out of the gate. If so, it works. But this is oft-putting to most people on their initial viewing because the movie requires you to concentrate in order for it to pull you in. I suggest re-watching the film, kick back, and just let it give you a good time. I did and it did. The story comes together as you are captivated by the movie magic.

A more linear approach to the storytelling would probably have made "Death Tunnel" more compelling, but after re-watching the film it dawned on me that Booth was shooting for art and originality above horror conventions, which should be respected. Besides, I was able to enter into the world of the movie and was mesmerized. What more could you ask for in an independent horror flick? The fact that "Death Tunnel" is an artistic horror film rather than a conventional slasher flick explains the mass of negative reviews, but anyone who appreciates cinematic art will value this film. You just have to be in the right mode.

Like many others, I didn't like the film the first time I watched it, although I was entertained by the spectacular visuals, which includes the stunning women, as well as the score/soundtrack. I decided to give it another chance with an open mind and found myself fabulously entertained; same thing with my third and fourth viewing. By the mid-point I found myself almost spellbound by the movie magic, which held me to the climax. You just have to accept that this isn't a dialogue-driven, plot-driven movie that focuses on slowly building suspense. Instead it's 90 minutes of horror and the entertaining elements thereof FROM THE GET-GO, which some people understandably can't appreciate.

If you didn't like the movie on your first viewing I encourage you to give it a re-watch sometime with these things in mind. You might like it.

FINAL WORD: "Death Tunnel" successfully combines grisly locations & F/X with stunningly beautiful women and a kinetic style for an amazingly entertaining film. What's more, the ending is actually moving -- there is a light at the end of the death tunnel.

"Death Tunnel" has slowly become one of my favorite horror films. It runs 97 minutes.

GRADE: Borderline B+ or A-
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on October 27, 2008
I purchased this movie at my local Blockbuster video store for $2.50 used. This movie could have been better written. You can tell this movie was made on a low budget.

The only thing that makes my skin crawl every time I view this flim is when an image of a tuberculosis patient who had blisters or nasty growths all over his body. Yuck! This movie was not scary.

There were only two blonde chicks I found to be attractive. The other girls were too skinny for my tastes. Ashley the hot rich stuck-up bitch played by Kristin Novak. She has a nice pair of boobs. In the movie you can see her tits while she is taking a shower. Annie Burgstede who played Tori was also hot. If it was not for Kristin Novak and Annie Burgstede this flim would have received two stars!

You are better off renting this dvd at your local rental store. It is not worth buying.
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on June 9, 2006
Ok, so alot of people are taking this WAYYY to seriously. If you watch the movie and just enjoy it for what it is and just be OPEN-MINDED, you will love this movie. The acting is a little flawed, the plot has minor holes, however the scare factor is very good.

I watched this movie late at night when browsing through iControl, and I loved it. Just the idea of being locked in a sanitorium where over 60,000 people died is horrifying. Personally, I LOVE being scared, so I opened my mind to this movie.

All in all, just keep and open mind and watch this movie; it will scare you if you let it. (STOP BEING SO UPTIGHT!)
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on November 23, 2013
My cousin was in this movie so that is the only reason I purchased it. The director had some very cool effects, but the acting was cheesy, the plot predictable, and the lighting and backgrounds were questionable. You don't have to buy it unless you'd like to do a Mystery Science Theater thing. My cousin was brilliant by the way.
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