Monday, 11 June 2012

Review - The Cave (2005 - Dir. Bruce Hunt)

I had some vague recollection of hearing bad things about this film. But I saw it in a '3 for £5' offer and decided to give it a chance. It could turn out to be one of those films that most people hate but is actually quite enjoyable.

Sadly, it's not. There are moments of fleeting excitement although they are few and far between. The overwhelming downside of The Cave is the lack of characterisation. To say that the characters all gaze in awe at Paper Mario's surfeit of dimensions is an understatement. It is a relatively easy task to write a description of every character in one word; 'relatively easy' because I can't even think of one word for some of them. 

Why did the film-makers bother then? The plot is an excuse for some lovely cave footage, both above and below water. And also an excuse to homage Aliens. A group of scientists led by Dr Nicolai (Marcel Iures) are investigating a Carpathian Cave system aided by tip-top diving brothers Jack and Tyler McAllister. They soon run into a spot of bother when a cave in occurs and Jack spouts the only cool blockbuster dialogue in the film - 'We are the rescue team.' More problems arise from the inclusion of some cave-dwelling creatures. 

The creatures were designed by Patrick Tatopoulus (Dark City, Pitch Black) and I was disappointed by their derivative nature. They recall the unfortunate alien/muppet hybrid from the conclusion of Alien: Resurrection. Having a better look at them in the special features, they are slightly more interesting with their exposed brains and elevated bone bike helmets (for want of a better phrase). The director chooses to show the creatures off by juddering the camera about and cutting rather quickly, rendering them indecipherable onscreen for much of the action.

When the action kicks off towards the end there is some fun to be had. The highlight has to be the free climbing sequence of Charlie (Piper Perabo). Admittedly it all gets a bit Lara Croft but this was the first time I got behind one of the characters. It was short-lived. 

I'm not a Professor of Sciencey Business BSc PhD but if a cave smells of methane there shouldn't be any flames in there. Fire of any kind would cause an explosion, surely? Later on in the film the cave blows up - I'm guessing it's the methane - so why don't the numerous fire ignite it earlier? Maybe they're special non-heating cold flames. The sort you use to cool yourself down on a hot day. That must be it.

At one point I was going to rate this as either 0 or 1. It does pick up in the latter half and provides some of the promised blockbuster thrills. Watch it for the cave photography and you may get something out of it.

If you like this you could also try:
The Descent, The Core, Pitch Black.


  1. Imagine this without the lovely cave footage and the aliens and you've got Sanctum! A film that made lovely real caves look like a plastic film set. Sanctum = 0/10.

    1. Never seen Sanctum. Glad I didn't bother.