The Cave

Rating 1½

Directed by Bruce Hunt

Written by Michael Steinberg and Tegan West

Starring Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian, Morris Chestnut, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Daniel Dae Kim, Rick Ravanello and Kieran Darcy-Smith

When a huge subterranean cavern is discovered underneath the ruins of an ancient abbey in a remote area of Romania, a group of scientists and underwater experts undertake a hazardous mission to explore the labyrinth of caves to document its ecosystem. They soon discover that they have stumbled on more than they bargained for and become locked in a desperate struggle for survival.

‘The Cave’ is, in effect, ‘Aliens’ underground. It has much in common with ‘The Descent’, which was released one month earlier, in July of 2005, and also bears comparison to ‘Creep’, a film released in January of that year.

I thought it was dire. The action takes place in near total darkness, much of it underwater, meaning that lot of the time it is next to impossible to clearly make out what is happening or to distinguish one actor from another. I will say that it probably looked considerably better on a decent cinema screen than on my decidedly low definition television screen, but there is virtually no sense of excitement or frisson at all. To be the fair to the film, I did watch it on a television channel that elected to have a lengthy advertising break every twenty minutes, which effectively killed any possibility of building up suspense.

The dialogue throughout was embarrassingly clunky – nearly all of it atrocious from start to finish. The acting was more or less adequate, although I could not get a handle on Cole Hauser’s portrayal of the leader of the diving team, which was either a classic piece of acting restraint or the most wooden performance since the heyday of Kim Novak.

‘The Cave’ has a 13% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 102 reviews collected, although films of this type are more likely than not to be viewed unfavourably by critics, and therefore I do not consider this to be substantiation of my own opinion of it. It had a worldwide box office gross a little over $33 million. The closing scene clearly was intended to pave the way for a sequel, but any plans to this end would seem to have been abandoned.

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