3 September 2005 | willywants
Come on, it's a summer creature feature, not the second coming of "Alien"!
30 years ago a group of explorers entered an immense cave system under a church in Romania. The church caved in and the explorers were trapped, never to be heard from again. Flash forward to present day, where a geological expedition comes across the mouth of the cave. They call in an experienced group of cavers to map the place out, but an underwater passage way collapses, sealing them over a mile underground with no hope of being rescued. They begin searching for a way out, only to come to the realization that they aren't alone; not only are there bizarre, undiscovered creatures, but also the group of explorers from three decades ago, who are no longer quite human
I just got back from seeing this in a near-midnight show. There were a total of 9 other people in the theatre, not a good sign really, and combined with the almost exclusively rotten IMDb reviews I wondered if I'd made a mistake. Deciding not to waste my eight bucks and ride the film out, I actually enjoyed what this flick had to offer: A claustrophobic atmosphere, stunning photography, plenty of action, cool monsters and nifty special effects. This is the directional debut of Bruce Hunt, a former second-unit director on the Matrix films and 1998's "Dark City". While he handles some of the dialogue scenes awkwardly, he certainly knows how to make the film LOOK good. Man, this flick is GORGEOUS! Not only are the cave sets great (fantastic production values on this one) but their lit perfectly (and surprisingly realistically). Kudos to cinematographer Ross Emery for giving this flick the visual kick it needed. As for the actors, just about everyone here does well, especially Cole Hauser and Morris Chestnut. The only weak actor here is Piper Perabo. Sure, she's pretty, but she really, really needs to develop some ACTING skills. Then there are the creatures. We never get a lingering look at them, but they are COOL. I'm glad the creatures were mostly created with puppets and prosthetic instead of CG (what little CG there is was mostly limited to shots of the creatures flying), it was a wise move by the filmmakers. Effects artist Patrick Tatopoulos, who also handled the creatures in "Independence Day", "Pitch Black" and "Underworld", has done a great job as usual. Some people have called Tatopoulos the next Stan Winston, and based on the work he's done so far in his career, this very much might be true. Also worth noting is the score by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, which, though often low-key, is pulse-pounding and exciting and keeps the action flowing nicely. The ending is your typical twisted horror ending, but hey, it works anyways.
Is "The Cave" a masterpiece of modern film-making? No. Would it have been better if it had had an R rating and more gore? Most certainly. Still, this summer creature feature is more entertaining than I expected it to be, I came in praying I might get at least a LITTLE enjoyment out of it and in the end I got more than I expected to. Enjoy!