Watching The Cave I had that same feeling. The movie is like a multi-million dollar recreation of my boyhood fantasies on the Dolphin. And despite the many lapses in logic, the ridiculous plot twists, and the sketchy characterizations, I found myself giddy while watching The Cave.
The plot is as old as time itself (or so it seems these days), a bunch of people wind up somewhere where they don't belong and start getting eaten by something bigger and badder than they are. It's a hoary design, which has been done almost yearly since Scott's Alien. The Cave takes six spelunkers, led by two brothers (Cole Hauser and Eddie Cibrian), tosses in a hot Romanian babe, a bad-ass black dude, and some comic relief, and chucks them all into an unexplored cavern miles below the surface. Along the way we get mutant white moles with big teeth, some mutant white eels with big teeth, and some mutant white flying monstrosities with not only big teeth but also really long, prehensile claws.
Director Bruce Hunt, who sharpened his own teeth as a second unit director on blockbusters like Dark City and The Matrix, knows how to generate claustrophobic tension and his incorporation of real underwater cave photography is superb. The script by Michael Steinberg and Tegan West is ludicrous to the extreme, and goes way overboard with pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that hobbles the story, but at least Hunt knows well enough to move the film around and not let it fester in these low points of absurdity.
The Cave is first and foremost a monster movie, and the monsters are a decent lot, well-made and well shot. They are odd conglomerations of every monster that's drooled across the big screen since the '70s. And the cave setting is distinctive (though the film geek in me must mention Ciro Ippolito's Alien 2, an Italian rip-off of Alien set in a cave). The cast is competent, and the cinematography by Ross emery is at times inspired.
The Cave is a monster movie; you can't walk in expecting American Beauty self-reflection or Star Wars grand opera. But if you enjoy watching flying, bloodthirsty monsters chase people around dark places, you'll get a kick from the film. It's a thrill ride. Watching it, I felt like a 10 year old kid again, swooping my way down the Dolphin towards unknowable depths.
Beware of albino rocks!
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Friday 26th August 2005
Box Office USA: $14.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $15M
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Production compaines: City Productions, Cineblue Internationale Filmproduktionsgesellschaft, Lakeshore Entertainment, Screen Gems, Cinerenta Medienbeteiligungs KG
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 97
IMDB: 5.0 / 10
Director: Bruce Hunt
Starring: Cole Hauser as Jack McAllister, Eddie Cibrian as Tyler McAllister, Morris Chestnut as Top Buchanan, Lena Headey as Dr. Kathryn Jennings, Piper Perabo as Charlie, Rick Ravanello as Briggs, Daniel Dae Kim as Alex Kim, Kieran Darcy-Smith as Strode, Marcel Iures as Dr. Nicolai, Vlad Radescu as Dr. Bacovia, Simon Kunz as Mike - Caver, David Kennedy as Ian - Caver, Alin Panc as Razvan - Caver, Zoltan Butuc as Corvin - Caver, Brian Steele as Creature Performer
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