February 5, 2010

Rabid Rewind: The Cavern

Title: The Cavern
Starring: Sybil Temtchime, Mustafa Shakir
Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Released: 2006 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Genre: Horror

If anyone has ever seen the horror film, The Descent--or was it just Descent?--then you'll most likely find this movie about young cavers terrorized by a monster to be sub-par and uninspired. Even for direct-to-DVD fare, this was pretty bad.

It's basically a movie about seven cavers on a trip to a remote section of Kazakhstan, where they've discovered an unexplored cave. No one knows they're there, because God forbid other cavers find out about the interminable trek required to reach the site. The characters are cookie-cutter automatons, generic archetypes you find in every low-rent horror movie. What little character development that exists--one caver is blamed for another's death years before--is trivial and serves no real purpose to the plot. It's just a blatant ploy to milk a little more tension from the characters.

I wish I could comment on the practical effects in this movie, but the lighting was so poor through a majority of the shots I had no idea what was happening most of the time. Yes, they're in a cave and the only lighting is the flashlights attached to their helmets, but there should be some attempt to make the action on the screen visible. Instead, I had to sit through extended periods of darkness, punctuated by shaky cam shots of light beams scurrying across the television screen like fireflies on crack cocaine.

I watched this movie during the same weekend I watched The Hitcher, so I was already in a sour mood towards B-rated scare flicks. This movie did nothing to win me over. And when the monster was finally revealed towards the end, which was wholly unnecessary I felt and detracted from the story, the director saw fit to give him a five second origin flashback. That may have been the most out of place moment in the entire film and completely ruined what was, at best, a below average thrill ride.

If people want to point and laugh at the horror genre, they need only use this movie as ammunition to their cause.

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