Hippo Manchester
September 1, 2005

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The Cave (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz

Cole Hauser gets back at me and every other film critic who mercilessly raked him over the coals for Paparazzi by making us sit through The Cave, a completely ridiculous tale of cave explorers who, one by one, get eaten by albino creatures of the deep.

Though you might say that first they are eaten by a bad plot and worse dialogue. Or that, even before that, they were betrayed by agents who clearly no longer concern themselves with their clients’ best interests.

I have good reason to think The Cave is a personal attack, however. You, unless you are really bored or have a friend who works at the Cineplex and will get you in for free, aren’t going to see The Cave. You didn’t see Paparazzi, in part because people told you it was whiny and stupid. So, ultimately, who gets hurt by another bad Cole Hauser movie? The studios? They deserve it. Cole Hauser? Hey, he got paid and, anyway, no amount of 2 Fast 2 Furious has kept him from getting work. So, really, the only one suffering from this kind of tragic waste of two hours is me. Well, me and some couple of hundred reviewers out there. And the theater ushers, and, honestly, most of them are just kids. Innocent kids who don’t know what a Cole Hauser movie can do to the human spirit. Come on, Cole, think of the children.

Hauser plays a character named Jack and I submit that his name is short for something three letters longer. Jack is the leader of a team of cave-creature fodder sent to explore a heretofore-unmapped cave deep in the mountains of Romania. Half a century earlier, another team found the entrance to the cave beneath an abandoned church. They went poking around, one thing led to another and, wham, the church caved in on them, blocking their exit. No matter, weird flapping and whistling noises mean (a) they aren’t alone in the caves and (b) entrance or no, they ain’t leaving.

Back in the present times of Jack and his team of ethnically diverse, attractive climbers, divers and explorers, our gang begins its descent into the cave — filled with caverns and water and plenty of shadows from which you can get the spooky-thing-watching-you perspective. Quickly, of course, they realize they aren’t alone and then promptly have their way out blocked. Jack therefore must lead his ever-diminishing band through uncharted territory if they ever want to see sun again.

Just once in a movie like this, I’d like to see a character say “hey, wait, this equipment isn’t working, let’s go back” or maybe “hmm, I know we have a mission but now that one of our team members has been eaten I think we should turn around.” But no, it’s all “I’m sure it’s nothing” and “Dead Guy would have wanted us to go on” and “Hey, look at the cute little albino mole with sharp teeth.”

As you will never see this movie, allow me to spoil it for you a bit: Jack gets nibbled on by some of these deep-dwelling baddies and begins the world’s fastest evolution. This is demonstrated by his acting a bit like Golem from Lord of the Rings and by some really awesome square-iris contact lenses. The make-up department, given nothing else to do, really went all out on the contacts.

Sadly, however, this development requires Hauser to act and, though he seems creepy by nature, the increased pressure of acting creepy for specific reasons is too great and Hauser buckles, crumbling into a pile of funny but not very terror-inducing tics.