Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Cole Hauser, Piper Perabo, Lena Headey|
|Producer:||Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright, Andrew Mason Richard Wright, Michael Ohoven|
There are places man was never meant to go.
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A rescue team is sent down into the world’s largest cave system to try to find the spelunkers who first explored its depths. But when the group’s escape route is cut off, they are hunted by the monstrous creatures that live down below.”
The advance word on the street was that this film was built on the “Alien” formula, which in turn is the “haunted house” formula with the additional twist of someone being “infected” and “transformed.” And that’s pretty much correct.
In the grabber opener, a squad of military of paramilitary men climb the mountains of Romania to a little, isolated church which contains images of man being attacked by grotesque flying creatures. In the church basement is a mosaic that covers an entrance to a cave. The men are after something specific. They set a charge, blow the mosaic, and… through events which I won’t give away… find themselves inside the cave.
Cut to present day. Researchers, using modern technology, have discovered the cave. It’s huge… maybe 100 miles long… and mostly underwater. A team of biologists and professional cave divers is sent in to evaluate it.
While the expedition is being set up, we get token character development. The risk-taker who doesn’t follow orders. The big brother / little brother controversy. We might guess that all this is a setup for coming-of-age and reluctant-buddy stuff later on. Of the eight people sent on the expedition, there are two women, one Black, one Asian and one “older person.” So all the required formulas are in place. Now it’s time for the creature attacks. But of course there have to be several fake jump scenes prior to the first real attack, which doesn’t occur until about an hour into the film.
I hope I don’t sound overly critical of the formulas. Almost all commercial films use them (it makes the investors happy), and sometimes we get an engaging story in the deal as well. Not this time. I do have a certain fondness for this genre, but this particular film didn’t hold my interest at all. Aside from any offensive content, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, simply because it’s poorly written and poorly executed. The acting is adequate, the stunts are impressive and some of the cinematography (including the underwater work) is quite good. But the final product just doesn’t have what it takes.
There’s a small smattering of profanity. I counted very few occurrences, but one published review puts the total number at about 25. It sounds like there’s an f* by the military guys in the opening scenes. Later, the expedition leader says “mother…” but is edited away in mid-word.
There’s no sexual content to speak of. The female divers are sometimes seen in skimpy clothing beneath their wetsuits, and some of the guys give them extra attention just because they’re female. But nothing comes of it.
The violence is the reason for the PG-13. Most of the attacks are done in tight camera angles, so you really can’t be sure what you’re seeing. But near the end, we get a number of full-body looks at the truly disgusting creatures, and some views of gore. Nothing that hasn’t been done in many other films. Again, all formulaic.
There’s essentially no spiritual content. But by implying that the church was there to guard mankind from the creatures in the cave, and showing that the “defense” was quite weak and easily overcome by an explosive charge, there’s a vague hint that Christianity is irrelevant to “real” needs and problems. If you can call a made-up creature a real problem.
I recommend skipping this one.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/nudity: Minor