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Caved In

Caved In (2006) Movie Poster
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  •  USA / Canada  •    •  93m  •    •  Directed by: Richard Pepin.  •  Starring: Christopher Atkins, Colm Meaney, Angela Featherstone, Monica Barladeanu, David Palffy, Chelan Simmons, Stevie Mitchell, Marius Chivu, Cristian Popa, Vlad Jipa, Razvan Popa, Marius Capota, Dan Sandulescu.  •  Music by: Aldo Shllaku.
       In 1948, a group of miners finds a gallery full of emeralds in a salt mine in Switzerland, but they are attacked by giant black beetles and only one of them survives. In the present days, the explorer John Palmer is ready to take vacations in Greece with his family when he is contacted and invited by a stranger called Vincent to lead his team in an expedition into a mine in Switzerland. In return, Vincent offers a large amount to John and the cottage nearby a lake and the entrance of the mine for his family to spend the vacation. John accepts the offer, and while leading the group underground in the tunnels, he finds that their ambitious leader Marcel is a very dangerous man. When John meets giant black beetles in the cave, he orders the group to return but Marcel threatens the safety of his family, forcing John to lead the team to the deep location of the emerald mine.


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Image from: Caved In (2006)
Image from: Caved In (2006)
Image from: Caved In (2006)
Image from: Caved In (2006)
Image from: Caved In (2006)
Image from: Caved In (2006)
Years after a mine collapsed in Switzerland, expert spelunker John Palmer, (Christopher Atkins) is approached by business agents Vincent, (Colm Meaney) and Sophia, (Monica Dean) to lead a team into it. Traveling with his family, Samantha, (Angela Featherstone) Emily, (Chelan Simmons) and Miles, (Stevie Mitchell) he leads the team, Marcel, (David Palffy) Hanz, (Marius Chivu) Carlo, (Vlad Jipa) and Ion, (Marius Capota) into the mine. When it becomes apparent that the real reason for the trek was for a cache of emeralds found in the mine. Descending into the mine to find it results in a swarm of giant beetles in the mine. Forced together to get out alive, they have to survive an endless series of attacks from the creatures.

The Good News: This wasn't as bad as it could've been. As another one of the creature features on the Sci-Fi Channel, this one has several of the main benefits of these films. The film hardly ever gets too deep in discussion as to what's going on, as there's really no explanation given to the creatures or where they came from. It's all sort of taken that they've been around before, just never to the characters in the film and this is their first meeting with them. That is a really nice change, as this means that there isn't a long-winded explanation from a character that would've killed the movie in it's tracks. There's also some really great gore in here, which is quite striking and really nicely done as well. We get an impalement through the back and out the chest, a hand chopped off, some torn open stomachs with guts spilling out, an arm snapped off, a decapitation, and the highlight, where a victim is chopped in half. While not being overtly realistic all the time, this is far more than what was expected in this kind of film and is greatly appreciated. It also had a really well-placed and filmed last half, which really never ended and kept up the fast pace right up through the ending. From the cavern escape to the battle in the emerald room and the final means of escape are all well done action set-pieces that simply contribute to a rousing and exciting concluding half. Even outside the cave is full of action during this time, with a really suspenseful gunfight outside the entrance to the cave providing some more action to the fold. There's even a novel idea that manages to wring some suspense where a radio beacon is attached to one of the creatures, and an unsuspecting character hears this and is lured into a trap. It also works on the cavers, where it manages to work out an early warning, and it always manages to come around. These all work into it and make it a better film than it could've been.

The Bad News: As befits a film of this type, there's some problems with it. It's only common place to label the creatures as unrealistic, and here the trend continues. It's really a crime, though, how bad the creatures here look, especially in the climax where not even a viewer glued to the movie can figure out that it's not real creatures. It even falls prey to the traditional manner where it needlessly introduces characters into suspenseful moments only through sheer stupidity. The biggest example is the escape over the rope bridge. Knowing that there's a full squadron of creature right after them, it still takes a full minute before deciding to move forward, and it's grating when the other characters have all yelled to get moving a couple times each. Having one of the characters follow the group after a warning only to have a series of encounters with the creatures is unnecessary and doesn't really do much to the film. Arguably the biggest one of the whole film is the cave. In a rather smart move, we find out that the power to the mine still works so everything is lit up. This helpfully eliminates a key problem, where it's too dark to see what's going on. However the cave is too well lit and it's like walking in the daylight sun at times. You never get the feeling they're trapped underground. If you're going to have your film set in an old mine, at least make it look and sound like an old mine. There are a few rickety wooden boards but this looks like it was only closed yesterday, not for several years. Besides these, the only main problems are the ones that plagues the rest of these similar types of films, and will be nothing new to most.

The Final Verdict: While being a big ball of clichés, there's a lot of fun to be had with this one, most in the guise of it's action-packed conclusion. It's not the one film that will convert the non-fans into the ranks of the Sci-Fi Channel originals, but for fans of them, this will be a rather comfortable experience and will be a fun watch.

Review by slayrrr666 from the Internet Movie Database.