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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
The Cave (2005)

"They fly! They frickin' fly!"
- Charlie (Piper Perabo)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 04, 2006

Stars: Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian
Other Stars: Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo
Director: Bruce Hunt

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (intense creature violence)
Run Time: 01h:37m:18s
Release Date: January 03, 2006
UPC: 043396070967
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D-A-A C+

DVD Review

The "creature feature" has been around for decades, made in varying degrees of quality. I blame the rebirth of the bad creature feature on the release of Anaconda, which at least establishes a formula for the type of characters that will get eaten, dismembered, or played with by its titular critter. 2005's The Cave doesn't exactly stray far from this formula, it just makes things a bit more claustrophobic.

The Cave is never clear about its story, characters, or really anything, but the plot involves a group of divers who are sent to Romania to search for the remains of another group that was trapped under an old church 30 years earlier. At the site, the man who has hired them, Dr. Nicolai (Marcel Lures), relates the story behind the events three decades ago. Not thinking anything of it, Jack (Cole Hauser), the leader, and his comrades go down into the cave where they hear strange noises and see things moving in the shadows. Jack is badly hurt, and soon acts as if he is possessed by the cave, while the rest of the group fights each other, and, eventually, encounter a creature they never could have imagined.

About an hour into The Cave I was not only shocked by what little had been unfolded, I was also amazed at just how boring all that time had been. First-time director Bruce Hunt appears to want to make things as chaotic as possible, but unfortunately for him and his cast—and more importantly, his audience—this chaos doesn't take long to disintegrate into confusion. The initial setup is pretty straightforward, but once we meet the modern-day divers, it's difficult to warm up to any of them, nor is it easy to understand why they're going to the old church site in the first place.

It's no surprise that the cave divers are knocked off one by one, but it is a surprise that a number of them are still around for the last 20 minutes. Usually one or two of the bigger-named cast members has met their maker in a surprising fashion long before. Don't worry, the creatures eventually do get most of these morons, but by the time the survivors emerge from the water, you'll be relieved that this mess is finally over. Unfortunately, it isn't, as there's a brief epilogue that features a completely preposterous sequel setup.

Most of the actors are hapless, but such a weak script makes it necessary to at least give them some benefit of the doubt. Fans of TV's Lost will recognize Daniel Dae Kim as Alex (although remembering who is who in The Cave is much more difficult than it should be), and Lena Headey (Ripley's Game) is one of the two women on the dive crew, but neither of them are memorable, and just kind of go with the flow. Piper Perabo has the distinction of being one of the few reasons to sit through this movie, as she basically floats around (literally) for much of the picture until hers becomes the pivotal character in the token sequence when we get our first good look at the monster. Perabo is very good here, oozing spunky sexuality as she runs across the cave walls in extremely short shorts and rugged athletic gear. Fellas, this 10-minute segment just might be reason enough to give The Cave a rental. Ladies, here's yours: Eddie Cibrian (Invasion).

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This film is so dark that it's almost a requirement that you turn off all of the lights and shut out any sunlight that might creep into your viewing area. While the transfer can only compensate so much for the way the film is shot, shadow, contrast, and black levels are consistent. There's no grain or dirt to be found, and colors come across nicely.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is topnotch, and it's about the only aspect of the film that provides any sort of scares. This is mainly accomplished through the liberal use of the surrounds. The creatures in The Cave make a Jaws or Friday the 13th-esque sound to clue us in to their close proximity, and this sound echoes across the rear speakers in a truly creepy way. The bass really kicks in during the action sequences, which in turn are also appropriately loud and effective. The dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
9 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Gospel, The Pink Panther, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Dust to Glory, Ringers: Lord of the Fans, Godzilla: Final Wars, Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, The Da Vinci Code, Open Season
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Director Bruce Hunt, producer Andrew Mason, and special effects producer James McQuaide.2. Writers Michael Steinberg and Tegan West
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: For some reason there are two audio commentaries, the first featuring director Bruce Hunt, producer Andrew Mason, and special effects producer James McQuaide. This track goes above and beyond what one would expect for such a lightweight project; the participants talk as if a lot of thought went into the plot. Although ideas discussed here were never translated to the finished productl, it's still nice to hear that at least some effort was made towards a coherent plot. The second track has the, er, stellar writing team of Michael Steinberg and Tegan West focusing even more on the story, shedding far more light on the intricacies of the plot than you'll even come close to getting from the movie itself.

Into the Cave is an 18-minute documentary about the actual cave where the film was shot. Underwater director of photography Wes Skiles and underwater unit coordinator Jill Heinerth spend much of the piece talking about how difficult it is to do their work underwater, and what the cast had to go through during the production.

Designing Evolution: Tatopoulos Studios is a 10-minute segment that's all about the special effects via interviews with more crew members.

There are previews included for nine other Sony Pictures projects.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Quite possibly the worst film of 2005, The Cave is a prime example of how not to make a monster movie. Now everyone with a DVD player has a chance to see just how boring this action/thriller is, albeit on a nice disc from Sony.

 


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