Cavern, The (2005)

The Cavern (2005)

Descend into Terror

Eight explorers learn of a newly discovered cave system in the Kyzl Kum Desert in Central Asia and set out on an expedition to document it. Once inside two of their guides are mysteriously killed and, when they try to escape, they find that their way out has been inexplicably sealed shut. They’re trapped inside the cave system and the only way to go, is deeper into the cave. But there is something else in the cave with them.

 

After the success of Dog Soldiers, Neil Marshall has managed to follow it up with this flick about a group of cavers who get trapped underground and……sorry I thought I was watching The Descent for a moment. My memory is a bit vague but that’s not right. I remember now, I am sure I was watching The Cave. Or was that another one of the million ‘trapped in a cave’ flicks that have been released over the last few years. Why is that whenever a film gets some measure of success (in this case, The Descent), there is always a tidal wave of clones, copycats and wannabes released in quick succession? And why are none of them even remotely as entertaining as the film they’re copying? Along comes The Cavern to add to the growing wave of these cave flicks. Even if we hadn’t already seen the same damned thing done to death already, I can’t imagine this would have been any good simply because it’s absolute trash.

I read a review on IMDB that said the film basically consisted of people running around pretending to be scared in the dark until one of them shouts something like “pull it together.” Then repeat. And you know what, that’s 100% accurate! That’s all the film is. There are the obligatory character development scenes at the beginning of the film to introduce names, minor histories with each other and so forth but as soon as they get into the cave and everything starts going wrong, all of the characters just fall apart. It’s a free-for-all with people getting their ten cents in a never-ending shouting match. Not only that, but the film is so dark. I can understand them wanting to go for the whole ‘trapped in a cave so it’s going to be dark’ angle but even the lights on the helmets were very dim so you don’t get a whole lot of visibility.

For most of the film, that’s ok because the characters are only bitching and shouting to each other but when something does happen, you want to see something even if looks terrible. There seems to be plenty of handheld camera work here too, again I’m guessing to try and create the illusion of being trapped underground. All it does it make the film look cheaper and the dark scenes even darker! On the positive side there are a few moments of gore which you do get to see in all of their glory so savour them whilst you can.

Another major problem is that you don’t know what the cavers are dealing with for most of the film either. At first you think it’s supernatural. Then later on in the film you think it may be some form of mutant insect. Hoping to get something decent is half of the fun of these films if you don’t know what they’re dealing with from the blurb on the back of the box. Then comes the final twist in the finale (and we’ve rarely seen the monster of the piece at this point – even an arm or leg wouldn’t have gone amiss) and nothing makes sense at all.

***Spoiler warning***

How in the hell could it be the male survivor of that plane crash from years earlier? How did he manage to get that superhuman strength and speed to be able to lift huge boulders to block cave entrances and to move through the caves quickly like a beetle?

***End Spoiler***

At least the terrible Caved-In: Prehistoric Terror had ridiculous-looking CGI beetles and plenty of them. Sometimes a little crap is better than no crap – writers here take note.

 

I thought I’d seen the worst that these cave flicks could produce but The Cavern takes the crowning prize for that now. Do yourself a favour and watch The Descent again before trying to explore this cavern.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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