I’m not really into extreme sports. And one such dangerous activity is ‘cave diving’. As if crawling through unexplored caves, which could be endless, could collapse at any time, and have no mobile reception isn’t scary enough, some people like to swim in them.
If you don’t like the whole idea, then this film is going to make you even more reluctant to give it a try.
A team of ‘hard ass’ cave divers, led by Jack (Cole Hauser, of Pitch Black fame) are called upon by a Russian scientist called ‘Dr. Nicolai’ (Marcel Iures) to explore the ultimate cave. It’s big, it has lots of water in it, and there is a legend that says that winged demons live down there – just the sort of things that get cave divers really fired up.
As you can imagine, before Dr. Nicolai has even had a chance to un-pack his bag, the rag-tag bunch of adventurers are already climbing through little holes and jumping into unexplored pools. The jock mentality pushes things on, as the crew members seem to be in constant competition with each other; to see who can hold their breath the longest, or to see who can find the biggest bit of empty cave first.
Unfortunately as you might have guessed, the legend about the demons had some truth to it. One by one, the cave divers and their scientist friends start to realise that maybe cave diving isn’t so cool after all.
Jack’s younger brother, Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) is the real daredevil. And when he’s not risking his life to explore big holes, he’s chatting up the encapsulating Kathryn (Lena Headey), a lady scientist who has taken a shine to him. Immediately you know that they’re going to ‘make it’, whatever happens.
Strangely, the winged creatures look uncannily similar to those in Pitch Black. And when you see from their perspective during the film, they also seem to have the same blurry, spooky vision.
You have to wonder whether they had just followed Cole Hauser from his previous film, and that if it wasn’t for him and his performances prior to this, the team would have been a whole lot safer.
The effects aren’t bad, and the ominous atmosphere is generated with some excellent scenery (vast hall-like cavernous spaces), good effects, excellent camera work, and plenty of claustrophia enducing chase scenes along narrow passages.
One highlight, is a cave water-slide scene a la The Goonies which cheered me up a bit. Until I remembered that I was watching a horror film, and that I should be scared – not reminiscing about an 80’s kids film.
Same old story
You can’t really fault the cast, as each are convincing enough, but their characters are far too un-original and samey.
From the off, you can pretty much tell who’s going to be dead within the first 10 minutes, then the next 10, then the next. And that’s just the problem. It’s all too predictable; as if the writers of the screenplay just dusted off yet another generic story and said “but this time, lets do it with cave diving!!”
There’s even a little twist that’s thrown in, supposedly to give the audience that little extra satisfaction as they approach the end. But, as the film progresses, the monsters seem to get less scary, and by the time you get to the twist (if you hadn’t guesses it already), it doesn’t really bother you too much.
If you’re into extreme sports, this might have more of an appeal to you. But for the seasoned horror buff, it will offer little. I would imagine that it’s follows a similar formula to the (apparently) better Descent and probably any other cave-related films that are about.
As with real cave diving, this is one experience that I suggest you avoid.