The Cave
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The Cave 2005

Bloodthirsty creatures await a pack of divers who become trapped in an underwater cave network...

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5

Imdb rating: 5

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Despite a derivative storyline (via Aliens and Pitch Black), weak, almost non-existent characterizations, banal dialogue, undistinguished performances, and an unnecessary set-up-the-sequel epilogue likely to elicit laughs or groans from knowing audiences, The Cave, a sci-fi/horror/action popcorn flick, still manages to provide a modicum of escapist entertainment for genre fans, due to a stripped down, claustrophobic, action-oriented script, above-average visuals, several top-notch set pieces filmed and edited with a minimum of overt stylistic tricks, and stunning underwater photography.

Set and filmed in Romania (partly for cost reasons and partly because Romania contains more than 12,000 documented caves, with the largest measuring 17 km long, many of them containing complex eco-systems), an extended prologue prefaces The Cave, centered on the accidental discovery of a vast underground cave system underneath a 13th-century Christian church by a group of ill-fated treasure hunters, followed by a 30-year jump in time, after which an archaeological dig uncovers the entrance to the church (and the cave). Led by Dr. Nicolai (Marcel Iures), a local expert, the archeological team discovers a sheer drop-off and an uncharted underground river. Via videophone, Nicolai calls on a group of veteran cave divers to help him explore the underground cave system.

A strong-jawed, fearless take-charge type, Jack McAllister (Cole Hauser) leads the exploration party, with an assist from "Top" Buchanan (Morris Chestnut, wasted in a superfluous role), Jack's younger, "hotshot" brother, Tyler (Eddie Cibrian), and Katherine Jennings (Lena Headey), a biologist and Tyler's underwritten romantic interest. Charlie (Piper Perabo, unconvincing when delivering the banal dialogue, but better when engaged in a tense, life or death struggle with an airborne predator), Briggs (Rick Ravanello), Alex Kim (Daniel Dae Kim, the token Asian, unlikely to survive The Cave's running time), the team's videographer, and Strode (Kieran Darcy-Smith) round out the cast of generic, disposable characters. Predictably, one of these characters inadvertently sets off an explosion that seals the entrance to the cave system (forcing the remaining characters to seek out an alternative exit just as the unseen, subterranean predators sharpen their claws for a new meal).

The underwritten secondary characters are given minimal dialogue and no establishing characteristics. As expected, the secondary characters are present in the film for one reason and one reason only, to function as fodder for the subterranean predators. Only Tyler, who may or may not become the lead character by film's end, is given anything resembling a (single) character trait (his desire to push the limits of technology and his body), a trait that predictably (stifle yawn here) brings him into conflict with his more disciplined, older brother. Some characters, like "Top" Buchanan serve no function at all, with the exception of adding another person of color to character list. Others, such as Charlie or Katherine (their roles and attributes could have been integrated into one character, especially since two female characters are unlikely to survive the film's running time), are almost as superfluous.

The elaborate, impressive production design (most of the film, appropriate enough, takes place inside the glistening wet cave set filled with rivers, lakes, and, of course, sharp-edged stalactites) is credited to Pier Luisi Basile. Remarkably, the aquatic film crew spent nearly 4,000 hours obtaining underwater footage, with some of the more spectacular scenes filmed in the Yucatan, Mexico (an in-joke is made of the newly discovered cave system's outshining the "real" cave systems found in the Yucatan). Credit for those scenes go to Wes Skiles, a documentary filmmaker turned underwater unit director and Jill Heinerth, an innovator in the field of cave diving who acted as a diving consultant. Heinerth trained the actors in using advanced underwater equipment, including re-breathers (high-tech breathing apparatus that recycles gases, allowing divers to spend up to 24 hours underwater on one tank of oxygen) and supervised the underwater stunt scenes.

For The Cave, noted creature designer, Patrick Tatopoulos (Underworld, Pitch Black, Godzilla, and Independence Day) created the subterranean, winged predators. Like bats, the winged predators uses eco-location to track and hunt their human prey. The predators, a combination of man-in-suit, animatronics, and where necessary, CGI, are best seen in brief, underlit glimpses. Up close, the predators are far less impressive and unlikely to create the intended audience reaction of fear and revulsion (and obviously influenced by H.R. Giger's groundbreaking creature design for Alien and Tatopoulos' own previous work).

The Cave marks Australian commercials director, Bruce Hunt's, feature film debut. At his best, Hunt directs the action scenes cleanly, allowing the audience to follow the characters with a minimum of camera movement or editing. The film's best-choreographed scene involves Charlie climbing a towering rock formation and a flying predator. Another set piece involves an enormous underground lake, flares, and two groups of survivors separated in distance and darkness. At other times, Hunt inexplicably succumbs to his previous career as a video director, employing quick cuts and blurry camera moves that make action scenes nearly impossible to follow. Some instances, however, are likely meant to retain The Cave's restrictive "PG-13" rating, which mandates minimal blood or gore.

Ultimately, more discriminating audiences are unlikely to look past The Cave's weak, undernourished script and appreciate The Cave's set design, underwater photography, strong visuals, or the set pieces that center on climbing (and falling) or cave diving (and being pulled under by a strong current or an unseen predator).
THE CAVE

KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1. THE FINAL ESCAPE THROUGH THE METHANE POOL.

When the final tallies are added, THE CAVE will prove to be a better than average monster tale. Getting to that point, however, is a road equally smooth and tarnished with many potholes. It borrows, at times too freely, from predecessors while still offering a novel approach. It provides taut tension, but with dizzying effects. Think of THE CAVE as a combination of "Pitch Black" and "Alien", with a new twist.

Let's talk technical first. Brain Berdan is the editor. While THE CAVE is about 100 minutes long, at times it seems much longer. This is poor pacing, and Berdan bears the brunt of the blame. There are too many times when the action stalls. He combines with Director of Photography Ross Emery to create frantic action sequences through use of quick cut close ups, but the effect, as always, is more dizzying than dazzling. Director Bruce Hunt borrows tricks from Ridley Scott's "Alien", shooting the monster in flashing strobe through most of the picture. He also borrows from "Predator" though instead of seeing a point of view shot from the monster in infrared, we see it in sonic wave form. It's a pretty cool effect. Patrick Tatopoulos, yes the man who made a mockery of Godzilla, created the creatures. You'll need to wait until the end to have a decent look at them; or wait until the toys are released. Finally, the underwater photography is nifty, though it won't cause anyone to forget Ricou Browning.

THE CAVE stars Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian and Piper Perabo. Certainly not the types of Hollywood names heard around the water cooler. If you're going to fill a movie with B and C-list actors, the least you could do would be to give the monster a little more prominence than the final reel. Monster movies were always utilized as a springboard for aspiring talent. Few actors stayed in the genre, though those who did are now legend. Chestnut has an impressive collection of horror films in his resume. He adroitly fits many of the standard horror roles and its comfortable seeing him in this genre.

Hollywood makes far too few monster movies. They are at the core of our imaginations and the fancy that is Tinsel Town. As monster movies go, THE CAVE is above average. A few familiar elements, mixed with new twists to provide a few thrills. Cuddle up close, and enjoy.

THE RATING FOR THE CAVE = B

BFCA RATING = 7/10
boring, stupid, and pointless...

I did it.

I survived THE CAVE.

How? I don't know...

But here is a sample of the award worthy dialogue that kept my interest:

"THEY FLYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! THEY FRICKIN' FLYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!"

...amazing
Hey. we jay, kus and me went to see the cave today. we met up with the others today after they had been with paddy to try and sell her art, but yunfortunately she didnt sell anything.
i dunno why, it was really good. i would have payed for it.

anyhoo..we bought some play dough, and ginger made us balloon dogs.
and we went to the bandstand where i made a heffalump out of my play dough adn paddy tried this guys ciggarette, and people went crazy 'ahhh! you cant smoke...' but personally, paddy doesnt listen to anyone (so she wont take inn what ur saying) so there is no point trying

aslo, i dont vare how people waste their lives.......but hey

anyhoo...the cave was OK. wouldnt see it again, and then jay and kus came back to mine, and we rented out hostage, which is really good.
well.....adn then i was lifting the dvd player up, and remembered about the DVD in it, so i pushed the open butten, but as it opened, the DVD slided back into the player (because of the way i was holding it) so now its stuck in the machine...i dunno wat to do.

i will need to take it apart! lol
well...better go
fi xox


Deep in the Romanian forest, a team of scientists stumbles upon the ruins of a 13th century Abbey. On further inspection, they make a startling discovery -- the Abbey is built over the entrance to a giant underground cave system. Local biologists believe the cave could be home to an undiscovered eco-system, so they hire a group of American cave-explorers to help them investigate its depths. Pretty soon enough (but not before you'll look up and sigh), some of the scientists will get instantly whacked by disgusting and putrid flesh-eating buggies. And the crowd yawns in boredorm.

Let me get this straight : The Cave sucks. It's anti-professionalism and teenie-styled to say so, but I found myself leaving the theater in complete fury, wanting my 9, 95$ back. There are indeed some beautiful shots of the dark cave itself and lots of snaps with Lena Headey & Piper Perabo's wet and strong legs, yeah. But besides that, it's a thrill-less scarefest where there's a roaring monster appearing next to every match lit by an asshole distancing himself from the group. Of course, the lovely brunette does not get killed. It's still an American summer movie released at the edge of August, dumbass.

Thing is, sometimes bad movies are enthralling. Cellular was incredibly dumb yet it didn't take itself so seriously. There was some suspense flowing all the way. Anacondas 2 : Hunt For The Blood Orchid was bad enough too, but it was mindless fun. Somehow, ultra-rotten The Cave is just mindless. No fun at all, unintentionally funny and most of all, boring. It's about an hour and a half and still it feels waaaaaayyy too long. With its chaotic and dark action scenes, you simply cannot feel sympathy for the deceased bastards and/or get excited during endless battle sequences.

Bottom Line : Quite possibly summer 2005's worst movie, delivering bad dialogue and choppy chase/battles scenes. Now let's get back to school, mmkay?

:rotten:
Catastrophic Action & Vomit-worthy Execution
This movie was so boring and poorly written, I couldn't wait for them to kill off the characters so it would be over.
:fresh: :) :cool: This movie was very fun and still had a few jolting moments. Anyone that likes to go to a movie that makes you jump once in awhile should like this one.
Piper Perabo: Only good thing about this movie. She dies early.

Monsters/beavers/raptor-like-things flying around. In a cave. Increased hearing, sight. Infection. Bleh blah. Awfully, awfully familiar. Awful, awful film.

My brother and dad liked it. "It was a good movie! You don't know good movies," they retorted excitely. Lol, dude. Lol.
Ever think, "well, I'm sure this ones good on the big screen"? Well, I'm sure it is better, but that doesnt make it good! This splunking horror is about as flat and over drawn as it gets. Aside from a few chills and one good action scene, this movie is rotten. Cole Hauser is a joke of a leading man and the movie's fate was decided most likely when he was cast. Morris Chestnut, what are you doing? Oh, theres some babes though...too bad it still stinks. The biggest scare by far is the open ending...thats right, a possible Cave 2 -eek!