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Film / Tunnel

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Tunnel is a 2016 Korean Disaster Movie, starring Jung-woo Ha as Jung-soo, Doona Bae as Se-hyun, and Dal-su Oh as Dae-kyung.

On a routine trip home from work, Lee Jung-soo is trapped by a collapsing tunnel. With only two bottles of water, a birthday cake, and his phone on 78% battery, he must survive long enough to be rescued by emergency services.

This Film Provides Examples of:

  • Buried Alive: Granted, there is no an inflicting villain source (other than a collapsing mountain). Nevertheless, the same sense of claustrophobia, closing-in walls, and primal hopelessness in a tightly cramped box is equally celebrated and exploited with much gusto by the director.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The tunnel that collapsed is one of two tunnels, and the second is under construction. After almost a month has passed with no rescue, the corporation that owns the second tunnel begins to argue that they are losing too much money and should simply give up the rescue, leave him to die, and move on with construction.
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  • Deus ex Machina: After the rescue operation is called off due to there being "no chance" that Jung-soo is still alive, the chief completely randomly happens to notice someone walking by with a very specific, very sensitive microphone. Apparently nobody even bothered to try using it previously, so he grabs it, sends himself down the rescue hole, and surprise: Jung-soo is easily able to be heard still alive.
  • Fight to Survive: Jung-soo is essentially trapped under an entire mountain, and must use the small amount of supplies he has to survive.
  • Heroic Dog: Very downplayed. Tengie is useless for the most part and in fact actually makes the situation worse by eating Jung-soo's food supply while he's asleep, but he does also point Jung-soo towards dog food that he can use to survive and barks, alarmed, when the construction workers start using explosives.
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  • Hope Spot: The rescue crew manages to drill all the way through the tunnel and to the other side, successfully rescuing Jung-soo... except oops, they drilled in the wrong spot, and have simply wasted over two weeks.
  • Hostile Weather: A terrible snowstorm begins to come down, severely slowing the operation to save Jung-soo.
  • Infinite Flashlight: The car's dome light and radio lasts for over a month. Additionally, Jung-soo has a novelty, branded flashlight in his trunk that is not only bright enough to light the entire cave dramatically, but also never runs out of battery.
  • No Antagonist: The closest thing to an antagonist is the massive amount of dirt and rock covering Jung-soo.
  • One-Word Title: Tunnel. Which is also what the main character is trapped in.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Attempted, but fails. Jung-soo notices that the tunnel is collapsing and tries to accelerate to outrun it.
  • Precision F-Strike: After his rescue, the media wants to know what Jung-soo's first words are... which end up being "all of you assholes fuck off!"
  • Primal Fear: Plays on the fear of claustrophobia, but also total darkness and isolation.
  • Scenery Gorn: Multiple wide angle shots of the collapsed tunnel and the mountain covering it are shown.
  • Shock Collar: Jung-soo is curious if Tengie's anti-bark shock collar works. It does. Very, very well.
  • Super Cell Reception: Jung-soo's phone is easily able to get a signal, despite the fact he couldn't get one in the same tunnel before the collapse. Somehow, now that the tunnel is destroyed and there is much more earth and rock covering him, he can.

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