The Cave (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on May 13, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Sony (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.40:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, Czech DD 5.1, Hungarian DD 5.1, Polish DD 5.1. Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian Subtitles. 94 minutes
The Movie
Director: Bruce Hunt
Starring: Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures, Kieran Darcy-Smith
Screenplay: Michael Steinberg, Tegan West
Country: USA
A cave diving expedition, including Jack (Cole Hauser), his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) and their diving team are trapped in an underground grotto when a cave-in blocks their entry point. So, the intrepid explorers have to travel further into the cave system, through both air and water, to try and discover a way out. What they don't realize though, there is something in the caves with them…something that has lived underground for a long time….something that is waiting for their warm, soft bodies…

The premise/plot for The Cave is pretty much the same as that of any other generic monster movie. People trapped in a situation where they are stalked by a creature (or person if we throw in slasher pics) and cannot get away through conventional means (of course with the slasher pic, this means not having normal thought processes). This is a tried and true formula that has worked in many cases: Alien, Leviathan, Pitch Black…really far too many to name. With these films you need two hooks to get an audience in: the beast and the location. Usually the beast isn't so much of a hook, as the trailers rarely, if ever, give away much of the look of the beast, although K Mart will generally have the toy of it on the shelf before the film is released, the other hook is the location. It has to be one of those 'oh God, I wouldn't want to be caught there' situations, where the threat may not just come from the beast, but the location itself causes an issue: Alien has the confined spaces of the ship, the Nostromo. Pitch Black had the abandoned planet with the never ending night, and The Cave takes place in…well…a cave. Claustrophobia is the key to making these films work, and The Cave does it really well.

As usual in Hollywood, when one movie with a particular idea comes out, there is generally another floating around waiting to be released at the same time, and occasionally neither really get the respect they may deserve. Unfortunately The Cave was produced around the same time as The Descent, and therefore probably didn't get much recognition as a pretty good action/ horror film. The only real problem I had with this movie was some of the casting. Sure, all the acting was competent, and the characters are all interesting, but at times, visually, three of the male leads were spitting images of each other, which made some scenes confusing, especially with them all wearing almost exactly the same Body Glove wetsuit, which is a whole other 'product placement' issue with this film that I won't dwell too much upon.
The picture is perfect, and I didn't notice any apparent issues with it. The underwater photography is lush, and the camerawork done in the darkness of the cave never becomes visually incoherent. The low-key, yet intense colours of the subterranean scenes are great.
The sound on this feature is moody and magnificent, and with the surround on creates a wonderfully subdued and dangerous atmosphere…the room seems to get colder during some of the more quiet scenes.
Extra Features
There are two commentaries on this disc, both of which are quite interesting. The first is with Director Bruce Hunt, Producer Andrew Mason and Special Effects Producer James McQuade, who go through the film, pretty much shot for shot, scene for scene and described the process of filmmaking well, even delving into effects and character motivation. The second is with Writers Michael Steinberg and Tegan West, who talk about the ideas behind the story, changes that were made and film as a collaborative medium.

Into The Cave (18 minutes 44 seconds) is a really exciting documentary about the Underwater Director of Photography Wes Stiles, and the Underwater Unit Co-ordinator Jill Heinerth, and their actual fascination with this type of cave diving. The documentary covers their involvement with the film and shows footage of theirs from dives they have actually done, including one that concerned them swimming through the fissures of an iceberg to discover some of the creatures dwelling on the sea floor.

Designing Evolution: Tatopoulos Studios (10 minutes 33 seconds) is a look at creature designer Patrick Tatapoulos' and creature effects supervisor Guy Himber's work on The Cave.

This disc also has trailers for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Stealth, Into The Blue, Mirrormask and White Dragon.
The Verdict
Atmospheric, with a creepy setting and an unusual creature, The Cave is for lovers of monster movies of all ages. Sure, with an M rating it is light on the gore, but this isn't a chunky bloodletting piece; more a 50's styled monster sci fi monster flick… heaps of fun!
Movie Score
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