If The Cave lies beneath hell (as its poster and trailers state) but only extends a scant few miles below Romania’s Carpathian mountain range, then Satan’s lair must be dangerously close to the Earth’s surface and all young American children attempting to dig their way to China must immediately halt their projects lest they inadvertently create a new skylight for Beelzebub’s fiery residence. And even if the movie’s marketing people are incorrect about the titular cavern’s precise subterranean location vis-à-vis Hades, Bruce Hunt’s dud about a group of deep sea divers/cave explorers who become trapped in an ancient cave populated by parasite-spawned winged monsters is nonetheless a clumsy mutant hybrid pieced together with the flotsam and jetsam of Aliens, The Abyss, and Pitch Black. Hired by a local scientist (Marcel Iures) to check out the mysterious hole in the ground, the team, led by bossy leader Jack (Cole Hauser) and his rebellious brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian), soon finds itself trapped underground. While exploring their stalactite-decorated prison, Jack is scratched by a gigantic carnivorous beast and infected with a parasite that slowly gives him heightened senses akin to the prehistoric creatures. Yet despite their boss’s newfound paranormal powers, the featureless crew of moronic spelunkers (including Piper Perabo, Morris Chestnut, and The Brothers Grimm‘s Lena Headey) repeatedly disobeys perfectly reasonable orders and stumbles and bumbles its way into fatal danger. With torch-lit action sequences ruined by herky-jerky cinematography that makes one pine for Dramamine, CG monsters so derivative and poorly animated that they’re primarily shown in quick flashes, and thus with nothing approaching a frightening or even slightly ominous sequence, The Cave quickly sinks to laughable depths. In the film’s most unintentionally funny moment, Tyler, confronted by partner Kathryn’s (Headey) unresponsiveness after nearly drowning, immediately cuts open her wetsuit top to perform CPR—because, it seems, CPR doesn’t properly work on women unless their cleavage is visible. Yet amid such waterlogged drivel, Chestnut’s Buchanan still has the audacity to warn everyone to “Respect the cave.” Um…no.
- Bruce Hunt
- Michael Steinberg, Tegan West
- Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Daniel Dae Kim
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