2005 - PG-13 - 97 Mins.
|Director: Bruce Hunt
|Producer: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason
|Written By: Michael Steinberg, Tegan West
|Starring: Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Daniel Dae Kim, Lena Heady, Piper Perabo
|Review by: Chris Beaumont
|Official Site: www.sonypictures.com/movies/thecave/
This is a case of a thriller in search of a story, a plot in search of a reason, creatures in search of an explanation. However you want to approach it, 'The Cave' does not have much going for it. It is a shame too, I think that there are some interesting ideas buried in there. You really have to dig for them, but the glimmers are there. If you are looking for a potential sleeper hit, a horror/thriller you can have fun with, you would best look elsewhere.
I wouldn't go in there.....
The film opens 30 years in the past with a group of, I guess, treasure hunters. The climbing into the Carpathian mountains in search of a large cave that was covered over by a church. As is the usual for this type of film, when you start in the past with a bunch of unknown actors, you can rest assured that something will happen which results in them not being seen again. Nothing is really revealed during this sequence, except to give us our first glimpse of the caves.
Fast forward those 30 years, and now we are greeted with a sequence whose only purpose is to show our intrepid band of heroes doing what they do. They then get called off to explore some new cave system. The cave system just happens to be the same one that our anonymous friends found themselves in at the start of this doomed expedition of a movie.
Now, I had been under the impression that our stars were going to try and figure out why those past explorers never returned. That isn't the case. The reason for the latest trek is never given an explanation, it is as if they thought "Hey, here's a big cave, let's go take a look." Anyway, no sooner are they down there and setting up camp do the problems begin. The see some strange creatures, and are quickly trapped. Left to their own devices they set out to find a way out. This proves to be no easy task as the creatures set out to make sure that doesn't happen.
There is an astounding lack of logic on display here. It is almost as if first time feature director Bruce Hunt just wanted to get these characters into a situation of peril, and any reason for them being there was of no consequence. There are bits and pieces of reasoning here and there, but nothing that adds up to anything. I don't necessarily need my movies explained to me, but I would like to have some connection of facts within.
In between creature appearances, a virus is discovered. This virus proves to be the most interesting thing about the film, yet it is given distressingly little screen time. Where did it come from? How did it develop? What does it really do to the infected? Beyond that and moving into the creatures, one could wonder what has been sustaining them in this seemingly isolated environment? How come they haven't found a way out? Then you could move to our intrepid band of explorers. Why exactly are they down there? What are they aiming at accomplishing?
Watching a movie like this can be maddening for any level of film goer, from the "I only want to be entertained" crowd, right on up to the film snobs, although I doubt the snobs would bother with this one. I was hoping that it was going to fall into that entertaining category, and it even fell short of that.
The acting was not anything special, there was no chemistry between our leads. I will say that I think Cole Hauser, who plays our team leader Jack, shows some promise to lead a movie, but this is step back from his work in the also ultimately disappointing 'Paparazzi.' Piper Perabo, is a rather slight actress, but does have an adorable can-do attitude on display. The rest of the cast are pretty much faceless. They are just there to scream in the darkness as the creatures pick them off.
Then there is that ending. I liked the attempt, but we aren't given enough information throughout the film's body to give us any reason to really care. There is too much window dressing and not enough content to sustain any interest in the cast or their plight.
The script is purely by the numbers, each character written to fulfill a proposed plot purpose. That despite the lack of a coherent plot. Dialogue is weak and doesn't generate any memorable lines. Man, this was a maddening time at the movies.
Bottomline. This is one that you can feel confident enough to skip. Wait and rent it if need be. The acting is weak, the plot is non-existent, the creatures are non-threatening. There is no meat to sink your mind's teeth into. You would probably be better off renting something like The 'Relic' or 'Mimic,' both of which do a better job at the B level creature feature.