Thursday Night Movie Club
The Cave
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: August 26, 2005

Director: Bruce Hunt
Cole Hauser
Morris Chestnut
Eddie Cibrian
Rick Ravanello
Marcel Iures
Kieran Darcy-Smith
Daniel Dae Kim
Lena Headey
Piper Perabo
Vlad Radescu
Simon Kunz
David Kennedy
Alin Panc
Zoltan Butuc
Brian Steele
Top Buchanan
Dr. Nicolai
Dr. Bacovia
Mike - Caver #1
Ian - Caver #2
Razvan - Caver #3
Corvin - Caver #4
Creature Performer
The Cave movie poster
Click on the photo of Cole Hauser to link to the official movie website.I walked into The Cave with very little expectations other than spending a few hours watching a movie and then going out for the traditional martinis and cigars after. I came away enjoying the movie and was pleasantly surprised at the surprises in the movie. Maybe it has to do with not knowing anything about diving, let alone cave diving.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a great movie. I found it to be O. K. Hey, I liked it! Good escapist summer fare, you can't beat it with a stick. There are plot holes. There are even some things that are totally ignored. Let me explain!

The Cave begins during the cold war, when most of the audience wasn't even born yet (I hope they still teach about the Cold War in school). A team of mercenaries heads into the mountains of Romania looking for something. The "what" is that they are looking for the entrance to a cave. They find it underneath the floor of an abandoned monastery. The "why" is never explained. Is there some buried treasure? Who knows. I guess the answer to this is not important. They successfully find the cave, but with disastrous results.

Present-day scientists have discovered the cave, but they have a much better reason for going in. They wish to discover what no one has seen before, an entirely enclosed, self-sustaining ecosystem, or so they hope. In all the world, there is only one person who can lead the dive team, Jack and his unnamed company of crack divers, explorers, salvage team. Heck, Jack and his brother Tyler don't even have last names. How personal is that?

Click on the photo of Lena Headey to link to the official movie website. Well, what kind of movie would you have without danger? Brain-cramp here on the part of the screen writers as no one in his right mind would allow unseasoned divers into a cave, where you have to swim 3 miles underwater, with changing pressure, without first making sure the location is safe for the entire team. Team-leader Jack doesn't see that as a problem even after his preliminary scout is attacked by a previously unknown form of vole. The vole is so adept that it bites through the fibre-optic cable.

Since this is a standard action-suspense movie, the situation quickly turns from bad to worse. While setting up the base camp, Jack sends Tyler and an unfortunate dive mate to fix the cable and their only link to the outside world. The unfortunate is attacked by a mysterious presence, his tank explodes causing the entrance to the cave to be sealed. The team must depend on each other for survival. Here is another goofy plot twist, Jack explains that they are on their own because they won't be missed for 12 days. I guess the support staff on the Romanian mountainside is taking a 12-day vacation. So communication is lost with the dive team, nothing to worry about. Let's wait 12 days to find out if anyone in the dive party needs help.

When Jack's team discovers that they are not alone, we get a crash course in the food chain, and Man is not at the top here. There is something sinister lurking in the dark places of the world.

Click on the photo of Eddie Cibrian and Kieran Darcy-Smith to link to the official movie website.The Cave is surprisingly suspenseful. This is mostly due to the byplay and the human interactions among the dive team when faced with an obstacle that none of them are trained to deal with.

One main problem is that this movie, like others in this genre, look too much like Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians". Having seen this movie hundreds of times before, it is rather easy to determine who will get knocked off next. The script writers would have done better by killing off other members of the team first, rather than the typical, easy targets first. It is not a question of who, it is a question of when. Charlie seals her doom by not following Jack's orders. Not like we can't see it coming. Too bad. For all the good suspense generated, a few out-of-the-ordinary plot twists would have made this a very good picture.

In the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock, there is a "mcguffin" here. I won't explain it but it does tie in with the original explorers of the cave. Another plot point left unanswered is the tie-in with the monastery. But don't worry, just like the ending to Underworld, The Cave plainly leaves the ending open for a possible sequel, assuming this movie makes enough money to warrant a sequel.

The Cave is late-summer escapist fare. It is suspenseful. Many things caught me by surprise. It is not a great movie. If you are in the mood for a suspense-thriller, go see this one. Just don't expect too much. It's enjoyable, that's all!