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The Cave

The Cave on DVD

Unfortunately for The Cave, it falls into the most thankless genre in cinema today.

The horror B-movie genre has churned out a lot of crap by stuffy artistic standards, but this so-called crap is often a lot of fun by movie loving standards.

A team of scientists has discovered the ruins of a very old abbey deep in the Romanian forest. If that weren’t strange enough, it appears as though it has been built over the entrance to a giant underground cave system.

Naturally, this arouses their curiosityd, thinking there could be an entirely undiscovered ecosystem down there. Naturally, they hire a team of American cave experts to investigate.

Conveniently, Jack (Cole Hauser) and his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) are thrill-seeking cave explorers (and American), and they have the best team in the world. Almost as soon as they enter the cave, unfortunate things begin to happen. And sure enough, there is very likely an undiscovered ecosystem down there. Maybe even an entirely new species, which may or may not be hostile.

The Cave is not a very good movie as may be judged traditionally. The cheesy script and completely formulaic story and characters would be enough to repel most folk. However, for a B-horror-movie, which this really is, you really can’t ask for anything more. There are plenty of cheap thrills, suspenseful situations, and subtly gruesome deaths.



One aspect in particular that works in its favor is the fact that director Bruce Hunt never quite gives us as good a look at the creatures as we really want. We can tell they look interesting and kinda cool, but that’s as far as we can ever get.

Hunt, director of photography for The Matrix films, clearly has a grandiose visual style. Everything in the film looks great, from the dark, dank caverns, all the way to the Romanian forests and the depths of the ocean. If Hunt can, in the future, bring more substance to his films, we may have an up-and-comer on our hands.

Finally, at 97 minutes, The Cave is the perfect length. Its somewhat tired premise doesn’t overstay its welcome, but it doesn’t progress or end too quickly, either. This is a great Saturday night rental if your tolerance for this kind of fare is high.

On DVD it works pretty well, too. It’s presented in the now-common aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (enhanced for 16x9 screens), and what we can see of the picture looks great. Much is dark, often too dark to make out anything pro or con about the overall picture quality. But so far as we can tell there are no traces of any dust or grain, even in the background during the longer, darker scenes.

Audio is done very well, too, with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track filling the room during the action and, in the style of the film, almost too quiet during the rest.

Included as extras are two commentaries – one by director Hunt, producer Andrew Mason and special effects producer James McQuaide, the other by writers Michael Steinberg and Tegan West – and two featurettes. The first commentary gives us plenty of insight into the production. To be honest, we found it a little dry, but there’s a wealth of information and some amusing anecdotes. It’s also always fun to hear what a first-time director has to say about his work.

The second track delves more into the history of the project, from the original idea to the start of filming. There are plenty more amusing anecdotes to be found here (including the discovery of a real Romanian cave shortly after the script was finished – creepy), and the duo are a little more engaging than the trio.

“Into the Cave” takes us underwater, as undersea director of photography Wes Skiles and underwater unit coordinator Jill Heinerth talk about the fun and danger of cave diving, and even teach us a few things about some of the world’s caves. Fascinating. “Designing Evolution” takes us to Tatopoulos Studios as Patrick Tatopoulos and his team explain why the creatures look the way they do and do the things they do. Clearly they put a lot of thought into it, and you can’t fault them for that.

The Cave, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
97 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Rick Ravanello, Marcel Iures with Lena Headey and Piper Perabo
Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason
Written by Michael Steinberg & Tegan West, directed by Bruce Hunt

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Updated May 13, 2006