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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.71%
Worth A Look: 2.86%
Pretty Bad: 22.86%
Total Crap: 27.14%

8 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Cave, The
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by U.J. Lessing

"Won’t you take me to… Spelunky Town!!!!"
3 stars

The Cave isn’t the first movie to combine science and horror. In the 1989 flop, Leviathan, a group of gorgeous scientists and thrill-seekers battled an unknown life force under water. In the 1997 dud, Event Horizon, a group of gorgeous scientists and thrill-seekers battled an unknown life force on an abandoned spaceship. One wonders if the producers of The Cave thought they were turning the pseudo-science horror film on its head by producing a film about a group of gorgeous scientists and thrill-seekers battling cave monsters under Eastern Europe.

The Cave is a rare film though, because it defies an unwritten rule of early fall films. Usually around this time, we get a slew of previews with promising premises. Sadly, we soon learn that these good ideas have been transformed into really stupid movies. Unbelievably, this time it’s the other way around! The Cave has one of the worst plots ever penned, but tight filmmaking saves it from certain disaster.

The film starts out pretty formulaically. The opening scene teaches: If one should ever find an underground cavern under an abbey in the mountains of Romania, one should leave it alone. The second lesson follows quickly: If one ever finds an ancient tiled mosaic portraying winged monsters, one should quickly find safer ground: say… Moldova.

(Mind you, if I ever found a fissure under a synagogue, I wouldn’t be too worried. Although why any denomination would build a house of worship over a structurally unsound cavern is beyond me. Perhaps an ecumenical council needs to be formed to set some ground rules, but I digress.)

Despite the ominous location, a group of biologists and a team of buzz seeking cave divers led by two brothers (Cole Hauser and Eddie Cibrian) choose to investigate the caverns for new eco-systems to study and tighter crevices to squeeze through.

What they find is a series of monsters that are all smaller versions of creatures from the Godzilla movies. Think milky versions of Rodan, Anguirres, Megallon and the big guy himself. They proceed to hunt, eat, mangle and infect as many of the outsiders as they can.

The fact that first-time director, Bruce Hunt manages to take this lame foundation and turn it into a thrilling film is pretty amazing.

The secret is in the structure. Hunt, with writers Michael Steinberg and Tegan West, wisely removes all unnecessary dialogue, avoids the pitfalls of exposition and carefully crams as many action sequences as possible into an hour and thirty-seven minutes—roughly twice as many as one finds in most high budget horror films.

While no one in this cast will be sitting opposite James Lipton on a stage any time soon, the actors do manage to convey strength and physicality. Characters leap, dive, climb, swim, lift, and run from one scene to the next. The Cave is the celluloid personification of 'Outside Magazine.'

Particularly impressive is a scene where one of the climbers (Piper Perabo) fends off a cave monster while climbing a cliff face. Perabo holds the scene together with the tremendous energy and gusto of a leading action star. With Vin Diesel’s career waning, maybe she’ll be the next big thing.

The cave design conveys a sense of great space. Sets and on-location shots blend seamlessly to create a truly menacing setting for a film. The many different types of underground locations create new challenges for the characters and builds an ominous sense of suspense and claustrophobia.

Yes, the monster design makes Gigan look respectable. Yes, the story-outline is so brainless that even Analog Magazine would have rejected it for being too incredible. Yes, there’s a twist at the end that makes The Village’s ending seem clever. Yes, with all these shortcomings The Cave still manages to be exceedingly entertaining.

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originally posted: 08/31/05 09:15:00
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell dull crap 1 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner This movie has some great scenes in it. 4 stars
3/20/07 Jim Vin Diesel called ... he want's Pitch Black back! 3 stars
12/01/06 harry it was good but them creatures wouldnt survive outside they not ment for it 3 stars
6/12/06 William Goss Meh. Predictable yet watchable. There must be an uncut version, which restores the quality. 3 stars
5/10/06 chienne I only went to see it for Marcel Iures, he's MUCH better that that. 3 stars
4/22/06 Aldo really bad ..i agree it was way too dark !!!!!! 1 stars
4/04/06 Mike loved it,defininately 5 stars,loved the suspense and twisted ending 5 stars
3/24/06 mike movie was too dark to see most of the time - not cool- fuckin sucked 1 stars
1/19/06 Evil Wolfie God i hate this movie... Just terrible 1 stars
1/06/06 othree Couple stand out cast members, potential groundwork turned into SciFi chan crap movie. 1 stars
11/24/05 danielle i htought it was good 4 stars
10/30/05 chris a not so good film tryed to compete with the descent but failed 2 stars
10/25/05 DEEDeeDEEe Was this a Cave Documentry? ¿ I could have watched The Discovery channel 1 stars
10/21/05 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone Promising premise founders on lousy shot angles, awkward timing & incomprehensible scenes. 2 stars
10/09/05 Anus AWW THE ASIAN GUY FROM 'LOST' IS IN THERE! 3 stars
9/25/05 Aaron Smith Monsters lose their effectiveness once we see them. Predictable characters. 2 stars
9/05/05 Randy This movie lacks story, characters, plot, but the caves were interesting to look at 2 stars
9/05/05 bff A great film 5 stars
8/30/05 Tom Burns A thrilling, action adventure. 5 stars
8/28/05 anna it was aswome 5 stars
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  26-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-Jan-2006



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