Everyone knows of "The Descent", in which a group of spelunkers went into an underground cave and encountered creatures that weren't the least bit friendly. However, I'm sure some of you forgot that a year earlier, we got another "monsters in a cave" movie that got a wide theatrical release that was christened with the original sounding title "The Cave." It can best be described as "Well, it's like "The Descent", only not good."
Years ago in Communist Romania, a church caved in for some reason, and went underground in the process. 30 years later, Jack (Cole Hauser), his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) and a group of fellow scientists (Lena Headey, Morris Chestnut, Daniel Dai Kim and Piper Perabo among them) decide to explore the cave that swallowed everything. However, when an explosion traps them, they find themselves being hunted by large, flying creatures that live in the cave.
There are a few things in "The Cave" that work. For one thing, the creatures themselves are great. Best described as mistakes of evolution, they manage to come off as a credible threat and have a great look to them as well thanks to Patrick Tatopoulos. The cave also serves as a great place, full of ominous dread and the unease and unfamiliarity of a place holding creatures man didn't know existed until now. Finally, there are a few moments in that manage to be suspenseful, the highlight involving Charlie (Perabo) being trapped by a flying creature.
That out of the way, this isn't a good movie. While most of the performances are good, Hauser and Cibrian are rather bland, with Hauser in particular coming off as wooden. Meanwhile, the characters are rarely interesting, and mostly feel like sketches of people trapped in a cave, and once things start to turn south, it becomes a little hard to invest yourself into their plight. It also just feels dull at times, with people just arguing with one another or saying inane lines of dialogue like "They fly! They frickin' fly!" Oh, and the ending is really bad. When it turns out that the creatures also wanted a way out, you can't help but throw your hands up in annoyance as the film ends up becoming another "Alien" clone.
I can't really say that I hate this movie, but that's because there's little that's actually here. It's the kind of thing that serves as the definition of mediocre. Apart from the ending, there's nothing that made me angry, but that's because little here that the viewer will remember years from now.