Overshadowed by The Descent which was released at nearly the same time, The Cave offers considerably more action than fear, more testosterone fueled rush than gore and mayhem. So, depending on what you're looking for, it's either a good or bad film. Being PG-13, I wasn't expecting too much in the way of chills and gross-out, but I also wasn't expecting this to be as entertaining as it was.
After the discovery of an enormous cave in Romania, a group of experienced cave divers/explorers are sent in to map it out before the scientists and other suit types go in. A fairly manly group of male model looking types, the group is rounded out by a couple of scantily clad babes who occasionally prove their worth by doing something tough and "kick-ass" like scaling 1000 foot cliffs and fighting flying bat monsters with their bare hands. Oh, I didn't mention the flying bat monsters? Yeah, that's what they run into while down in the cave...after the cave in.
The bat monsters are huge, Giger-esque Alien type things that swim and fly through the caverns injecting those they attack with a parasite that transforms the victim into one of them. The caverns themselves, an impressive show of staging, go from fiery-pits-of-Hell to snowy, ice caves to long slide-like tunnels ala The Goonies.
So, essentially, The Cave is Alien meets The Poseidon Adventure meets Goonies meets The Wolfman. How could it not be fun?
Both The Cave and The Descent center around a group of people who get stuck in massive, unexplored caves that each house a group of carnivorous and terrifying monsters. But that's about the only similarity. The Cave boasts a major studio's backing and big budget which is expressed, mainly, through it's special effects. There is a lot of CGI going on here, but it's relatively tasteful and there are few moments where you think "Why why why?" like I did during, say, I Am Legend. They exist mind you, but for the most part, the monsters are subtle and well done.
The acting is decent and the script is, despite it's genre limitations, kind of inventive and certainly kept me watching. There are a few moments that are really well done and kind of kept me on edge - especially a very dark and agoraphobic scene where the group of people dog paddle around in an enormous underground lake while the bat monsters lurk devilishly underneath them.
It's not going to ever make anyone's "best of" list, but it's a little unfair how ignored this film was. Worth a rent if you're in the mood for some good sci-fi action-oriented fun with an occasional scare or two.
- Complaint Dept