The Cave

Cast:
Cole Hauser as Jack
Morris Chestnut as Top Buchanan
Eddie Cibrian as Tyler
Rick Ravanello as Briggs
Marcel Iures as Dr. Nicolai
Kieran Darcy-Smith as Strode
Daniel Dae Kim as Kim
Lena Headey as Katherine
Piper Perabo as Charlie
Vlad Radescu as Dr. Bacovia

Review:
A group of geologists have found the opening to a previously unknown cave system in the Carpathian Mountains. They hire Jack (Cole Hauser), the best cave diver in the world, and his team, to lead them into the depths. When a cave-in traps them a mile underground, Jack finds a way back to the surface while dealing the rising frustrations of the group as the stress of the situation takes hold, and the strange subterranean creatures that are following them, picking them off one by one.

The Cave is a fairly bland modern creature film in the Alien vein that is ultimately unsatisfying to all but the most die-hard of monster fans.

The biggest problem is the overall blandness of the characters, which makes it hard to connect with them and thus ever be in suspense over what is going to happen to them. Like most of these films, the characters are drawn from well-known archetypes: Jack is the experienced and strict leader, his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) is the daredevil, throw the rules out the window type, etc. You know the drill.

The characters are given the briefest of introductions, and not much in the way of development as they make their way through the caves. Jack and Tyler are the best realized of the lot – but there seemed to have been some confusion among the filmmakers as to what they’re dynamic is. Instead of co-leads who’s interactions create interesting character dynamics, they jockey back in forth for the top spot, with the result being that, where at least one character could have been strong, both are instead thinned out. Even their brotherly bickering is bland. Hauser makes the best he can out of the situation, particularly once Jack is poisoned and starts to become one of the creatures himself. Hauser plays the paranoia over the transformation well, but once again it seems like the filmmakers didn’t know where they were going with the idea, which when mixed with the lack of characterization makes everything far less suspenseful than it should have been. And a monster film without suspense is just an exercise in pretty pictures and good sound design.

The Cave has structural problems as well, with an opening that goes on for far too long – and to little purpose – and an end that is too short. The climax just sort of happens, and is just as suddenly over.

There is one, and only one, truly entertaining sequence as Charlie (Piper Perabo) attempts to scale a cliff to freedom and is forced to do battle with two of the subterranean creatures in the process. It is intense and vital and edge-of-your seat exciting – everything the rest of the film is not.

The Cave is a decently crafted but unoriginal and uninspiring creature feature with a few moments of true entertainment that the rest of the film never matches up to.

Rated PG-13 for intense creature violence.

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