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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

When the opening to a huge underground cavern is discovered beneath the rubble of an old church in the Romanian mountains, a scientist hires a team of gung-ho American cave divers to help explore the cave’s ancient ecosystem.

Ignoring religious mosaics that warn of “winged demons,” the group descends using the latest high-tech equipment and their expertise in underwater exploration and mapping. But when a team member is attacked and killed resulting in an explosion that seals off the underwater passage they’ve just come through, the spelunkers realize they’re not alone down there. And something is happening to their no-nonsense leader, Jack. Now the group has a new mission: Find a way out of the cave before the mysterious creatures hunt them down, one by one.


Positive Elements

In spite of personal rivalries, most of the characters risk their lives in attempts to save others. (We also learn a little caving and climbing lingo.)

Spiritual Content

The film’s tag line raises interesting questions about theological geography: “Beneath heaven lies hell, beneath hell lies ... the cave.” Google Maps is no help in trying to figure it out, either.

In an opening sequence set in the old church above the cave, we see several close-ups of Jesus’ face on a life-sized crucifix. The church is said to have been built over the cave entrance to cap off the ancient evil beneath the earth’s surface. However, those “winged demons” warned of in the church’s artifacts turn out to have a biological, not spiritual, origin.

Sexual Content

Sexual content is limited to a couple of shots of female characters in functional swimwear and a lame joke: “Here’s to virgin caves.” “Here’s to virgin everything.”

Violent Content

A monster movie, The Cave earns its MPAA rating with creature violence. However, most of the attack sequences are so frenetic with splashing water, quick cuts and glimpses of creature parts that it’s tough to tell what’s really happening. We see a bloody half-eaten underground mole. Human blood is seen on wounds and in the water, and is left behind on rocks. Later, the man-sized, Alien-style creatures are revealed in full, complete with big nasty teeth and talons, and pale, slimy skin. One lands on a woman clinging to a rock, apparently stabbing her with its talons while she reciprocates with a knife before setting it aflame. Not quite dead characters make eye contact while being dragged away, broken, impaled or, in one case, after being impaled on stalactites. Creatures spurt fluids upon stabbing. Multiple explosions imperil. A couple of guys punch each other.

Crude or Profane Language

The names of Jesus Christ and God are used for swearing in various forms about five times each. One character utters the word “mother,” but breaks off before adding an obscenity. Also heard are 10 or so uses of the s-word, "h---" and a handful of other profanities.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The teams drink beer at a meeting the night before the big expedition.

Other Negative Elements

In the tradition of sci-fi and horror films through the ages, science is gleefully abused to explain the parasitic origins of the creatures.


A grade-B horror flick doesn’t have to be lousy; maybe the creators of this murky, dank, endless creature feature didn’t know that. They seem to have worked really hard at making The Cave unwatchable.

It's not that the idea of the movie is awful. A claustrophobia-inducing story about the world of caving has the potential to be quite thrilling. Some of the underground and underwater sets are impressive. And the creatures’ origins are imaginative. If only even a little bit of it made any sense. Early on, especially, I just couldn’t tell what was happening in many of the scenes. The lighting is bad; the cuts too quick; the camera apparently hung from the ceiling on Bungee cords. I’m guessing first-time helmer Bruce Hunt was trying to build suspense by keeping us from locking on to the action, but he ends up building annoyance instead.

The complete avoidance of character development, alternately giggle- and cringe-inducing dialogue, hectic violence and strict adherence to nearly every monster movie cliché ever invented don’t help. The Cave is a dark, disorienting place that will have lots of people looking for a way out of the theater.

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