“the cavern” – film review
oh dear, did i watch a stinker last night? 😦
charlotte loves horrors, so most nights when i ask her what dvd she wants to watch she fancies a horror. last night we watched the cavern (US title: WIthIN) and it was dire.
its about a bunch of idiots who climb inside a cave and get killed.
why was it so bad? how long do you have? well, for a start the acting wasn’t very good. the actors all looked like they were b-grade soap actors who’d now got their chance at a real movie! as such they take themselves so seriously – it killed me. too many of them tried to make too much of their little moments and they all gave us the the serious eyebrows and set mouth to great effect.
i’m fully aware that the blame isn’t always the actors’ and one can see that all of them certainly have some ability. its the director’s job to film them well and let them know if they’re making idiots of themselves – olatunde osunsanmi just left them to die an ugly death on the screen ( 🙂 ). mr osunsanmi is further to blame with the cinematogrophy which was annoying. he seems to have discovered a new and exciting jarring camera effect and it excites him so much that he uses it regularly. further crimes include tons of shots where the bloody helmet-lights of the cavers shine directly into our eyes (to engage us more directly, of course) and countless realistic (and stupid) camera angles. for some reason he also thought it would be a good idea to film them upside down sometimes – for no reason at all. the mind boggles.
however, there is only so much you can do with a piece of toilet paper that someone accidentally mistook for a screenplay. and when i discovered that the screenplay is by the selfsame olatunde osunsanmi then i started seeing his involvement in this film as much more sinister. the dialogue wasn’t bad, although there were some clangers like “the cave is howling” and there was a lot of very badly handled swearing. if done well, swearing can work in a film, and the way you know if its working is if you don’t notice it – once it stands out then you know its crap. but what makes this script truly awful is the exposition and character development.
whenever you take the audience to a world they’re probably not familiar with you have to introduce them to it and give them a sense of this world, as done effectively in point break and… well, i can’t think of another, so point break for instance. the audience probably doesn’t know about caving and so has to be introduced to the concept and get some idea as to why they do it and whats cool about it. this is where the majority of the serious-eyebrow, set-mouth acting comes in – the characters deliver these annoying and “deep” speeches about what caving means to them and their past caving experiences. this is handled in such a heavy-handed and overly-serious manner that my skin crawled. the worst moment came when one indo-hispanic type character went on this interminable quasi-spiritual speech about why they climb down caves. trust me, it went on and on. a long speech like that, with one rigidly-set pair of eyebrows, at such an early stage in the film is cinematic suicide.
this was a truly awful film. if you were strapped to a chair and forced to watch it you’d probably survive. under any other conditions i’d avoid it like the plague.