The Cave Review
The first warning sign that The Cave is going to suck comes from its certificate. Any would be action horror that comes home with a 12A has got to be seriously lacking in conviction. The second sign that The Cave is going to suck comes from its cast. Now, you don’t necessarily need the A-list, as the story is far more important, but at least a couple of recognisable names and faces could have distinguished it from the thousand direct to video efforts that it so clearly belongs next to. The third sign is that it sucks.
A 30-years-ago prologue sees a group of mercenaries discovering a CG church in the Carpathian mountains. Just as they find the entrance to a crypt that contains something or other, the church collapses on top them. In the present day, the site is being excavated again for unclear purposes, and a crack cave diving team is called in to help some scientists reach deep below ground. Comprising surly mission leader Jack (Hauser), his brother Tyler (Cibrian) and various others, they’re quickly several miles below the surface where they discover that they’re not alone. Before you can say “generic”, the way out is blocked and the group are being offed at regular intervals by forces unknown as they desperately try to stay alive long enough to find an exit.
Comparisons to The Descent are inevitable, but The Cave actually takes most of its cues from Pitch Black and the Alien quadrilogy, both in creature design and basic premise. But what should have been the film’s main selling point instead turns out to be its biggest minus point – the action sequences. The lack of gore ceases to be an issue because, as the creatures begin to attack, we are treated to literally not one single coherent frame. The cameraman throws around his lense like he’s being electrocuted, the continuity editing is appalling and the whole exercise is drowned out by the you-should-be-excited-now music. Not to mention the terrible special effects and dismal dialogue.
When not being idiotic, its being deadly dull and repetitive, as the group move around from cave to conveniently well lit cave, bickering over which way they should go ad nauseam. Tension is nonexistent and there’s not one interesting or appealing character. Romania is an evocative and atmospheric location for any fright flick to be set, a place filmmakers have been exploiting for as long as there have been horror movies, but no attempt is made to play up this angle. There’s a brief flirtation with vampiric folklore, but it’s quickly abandoned in favour of more daftness and the final sting in the tale is as laughable as it is obvious.
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