Dear David Fincher,Yes, and as you may have noted I said "saved myself some pain"- it takes a rare movie to suck so hard that I cop to that old complaint "Well, there goes 80 minutes I'll never get back", but The Cavern surely fits that bill. Oh, to be suddenly stricken with rampant polydactyly so I could flip this movie off more than twice at a time.
Your movie is called Seven, not Se7en. You see, Se7en is pronounced "sesevenen", and that makes no sense.
The Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue (plus one nerd) heads to uncharted territory (hundreds of miles deep into Nowhere, Kazakstan) to explore some caves. No one knows they're there, of course, because "secrets travel fast in the caving world". I get the feeling that the group will run into trouble in the caves and no one will be able to rescue them because of this secret-keeping, but who knows. Maybe I'll be wrong!
The night before the expedition, the group sits around a CGI campfire expounding about the mysticism of caves and past tragedies and blah blah blah and who cares because I just said CGI CAMPFIRE. You know what? I don't give a fuck how infinitesimal your budget is, I'm pretty sure you can afford a real fucking fire. If a Cro-Magnon can afford it, then I think it probably falls within your budget.
As you can see, The Cavern and I were not off to a particularly good start. Things continued along the downward spiral as two characters got up in the middle of the night to screw in the mouth of the cave. Gratuitous sex scene in a horror movie? OK, yeah, I'll give you that. But if you're going to add an overly obvious, blatantly gratuitous sex scene to your movie, at least have the characters take off their clothes!
Boy, this review is gonna contain many, many italics, I can tell you that right now.
Once the group enters the cave system, they come to a giant opening in the floor. Because this is uncharted territory, they get to name everything they find; I was hoping they'd call the hole "The Great Minge", but no- they call it "Hell Pit". Ooh, scary.
They descend into Hell Pit and then we, the audience, are in for some of the worst filmmaking I've ever seen in my life. I can only assume that writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi was trying to be artistic with this film, and that's not an ignoble goal, necessarily. I mean, The Shining is a visual masterpiece, but the set pieces and deliberate shots never overpower or outshine the proceedings. Besides, Stanley Kubrick knew what the fuck he was doing. "Artistic shots" in The Cavern means a soft focus effect to the point of haziness (a la the Cybill Shepherd-cam in Moonlighting), jump cuts galore, minimal lighting, shaking cameras, upside-down shots...it's like watching a seizure. In fact, during one sequence in the movie, I actually developed epilepsy and had 36 Grand Mal Seizures in a row.
Minimal lighting in a dark space can be a very effective technique (ahem...The Descent); however, when you choose to use headlamps as the only light source, it's probably not a good idea to constantly have the characters moving towards the camera, because you end up with a whole lot of this:
Am I supposed to tell what the fuck is going on in this movie, or am I being asked where I was last Tuesday around 9pm?
The Cavern had 10 good seconds in it: there was a moment where the group stopped and stood perfectly still because they heard a noise. It was a well-done 10 seconds and it was actually creepy. Then the group was attacked by something and the jumpcuts, screaming, yelling, running, and upside-down trickery began again.
Yes, people continue to get picked off one by one by something indeterminate, some evil force within the cave that has moved a huge boulder over the Hell Pit opening, blocking the way out. The group descends farther into the cave and they decide to lay a trap for the evil force- if they can kill it, they can concentrate on navigating the labyrinth without fear. They lure the evil force into an open area and pump it full of lead- yes, they brought guns- and it seems the evil force is actually some sort of "wolf/bear hybrid".
Sadly, the "wolf/bear hybrid" isn't dead and the group continues to dwindle. When their headlamp batteries go dead, they all resort to using camera flashes in an impossibly rapid succession, bringing on Grand Mal Seizures 37-61.
Eventually, the two female members of the group are the only ones left alive. They find daylight, and as they're crawling towards it we hear "RARR!" and then "EEEEK!" and the screen goes black.
I thought it was over. I thought I could live again, but no...
The girls wake up next to another CGI fire, this time somewhere in the cave. They're naked but for animal pelt blankets.
They spot a big pile of hiking gear and begin to riffle through it, quickly determining that they're not the first victims of the "wolf/bear hybrid" after all. They find clothes, photographs and...an airplane wing. They find some food and water and act like beasts, cramming crap in their mouths and literally going "nummmm nummmnum numm grunt grunt". Then they discover they're eating a person and they barf.
The "wolf/bear hybrid" returns and we learn that it's not a "wolf/bear hybrid" at all- nor is it an evil force. It's...a...
...dude. It's a dude. It's a fucking dude wearing animal pelts and a cow skull!
In a 15 second Grand Mal Flashback, we infer that he lost his family in a plane crash when he was a child and he took to living in the caves. Apparently this means he became Super Cave Man, able to rip men in half, move boulders, climb walls, and survive being hit with a full clip of ammo.
Super Cave Man snaps out of his reverie, kills one girl and rapes the other. The End.
No really, the movie ended in mid-rape. The movie ended in mid-rape!
I try...I've seen some bad movies, as you well know, dear reader, and it's not often that I hate a movie so much that I want to go brush my teeth immediately after viewing it. Even when a movie is bad, I try so very hard to be...smartly critical of it, even when I'm totally taking the piss. The Cavern, though...I can't even rate this movie. I honestly hated this movie. All I can say is fuck this piece of shit movie, I want my 80 minutes back.
This weekend, I'm taking The Descent out to a nice dinner to apologize. I'll buy it candy and flowers and beg its forgiveness, promising never to leave its side again.