Director – Bruce Hunt
Cast – Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian, Morris Chestnut, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Rick Ravanello, Daniel Dae Kim, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Marcel Lures, Vlad Radescu
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
August 2005 was an interesting month in recent horror history. Two different films with nearly the same horror-subplot(killer creatures in a cave system) debuted in US theaters during the month of August. First came the far superior UK film The Descent on August 4th, and then the mediocre flick The Cave on August 25th. Although I referred to this film as “mediocre” it is not necessarily a bad watch. It gives us some cool looking creatures and delivers a good “creature feature” if anything.
This film follows a group of scientists and professional divers exploring a yet to be named cave system deep in Romania. As they head deeper into the cave they come in contact with weird cave rats and salamanders that have an unknown parasite infecting them. Soon enough they meet the “top of the food chain” in the cave system and the encounter leads to a cave-in. The explorers must now find another way out of the cave system while battling some highly adaptive creatures watching their every move and picking them off one by one.
I personally love these types of horror films so I was pretty sure when I began watching this that I would enjoy it. I don’t know what it is about weird looking creatures in dark atmospheres but those flicks just get me. The fact this film takes place in a dark cave system already gives this film some great atmosphere to begin with. With many places to hide and many shadows to fool the viewer, a cave setting is an epic way to guarantee some good tension in a horror film.
The storyline for this film is nothing original but I tend to enjoy horror films that employ the “scientific exploration” concept given my biological interests. Hehe. The dialogue and acting comes off as a typical “Hollywood” horror film but can be dealt with sparingly. This is director Bruce Hunt’s first and only feature film he directed but it does not show. His use of camera angles and wide pan shots of the cave system were excellent and left me in awe at some points. This film used amazing caves as sets and went as far as to even create a 750,000 gallon tank in order to film some of the underwater scenes.
So how did the creatures come out? They looked pretty damn amazing if you ask me. Not only were they gigantic but they had a very “alien” look to them as far as the heads and faces. They even sprouted wings in a few scenes(they are highly adaptive remember?) which I found pretty freakin awesome and it upped the intensity of the film as our characters REALLY had no where to hide after that.
My only knocks against this film were that it took a while to get to the good creature action. The ending sequence was pretty cool and fulfilling but building up to that took a while and we don’t get much action in the first half of the film aside from some short scenes. The Descent suffered from this same aspect except when the action kicked in during the second half it was so amazing, gory, and well done that it made the development worthwhile and necessary.
Overall, this is a positive “creature feature” sure to please fans of the sub-genre or those who want an enjoyable “popcorn” flick to watch with friends.