The Cave (2005 film)

The Cave is a 2005 American action horror film, directed by Bruce Hunt. It stars Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian, Morris Chestnut, Marcel Iureș, Lena Headey, Rick Ravanello, Piper Perabo and Daniel Dae Kim.

The Cave
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBruce Hunt
Produced byRichard S. Wright
Andrew Mason
Tom Rosenberg
Gary Lucchesi
Written byMichael Steinberg
Tegan West
StarringCole Hauser
Morris Chestnut
Eddie Cibrian
Rick Ravanello
Daniel Dae Kim
Lena Headey
Piper Perabo
Music byReinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek
CinematographyRoss Emery
Edited byBrian Berden
Distributed byScreen Gems
Release date
August 26, 2005 (2005-08-26)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million
Box office$33,296,457


In the 13th-century Carpathian Mountains of Romania, an Eastern Orthodox abbey and its inhabitants are destroyed by a landslide.

Centuries later, a group of modern-day Soviet and British plunderers search for the long-lost abbey. They discover the abbey is built above a vast cave system. Trying to blast their way in, they cause a landslide that buries the abbey, trapping the men below. They descend further into the cave in hopes of finding a way out, even as they hear strange sounds in the darkness.

Some time later, a new team led by Dr. Nicolai, with his associate Dr. Kathryn Jennings and cameraman Alex Kim explore the site, and the mythology behind the winged demons depicted in the mosaic on the abbey's floor. Local biologists believe the cave could contain an undiscovered ecosystem, so they hire a group of American spelunkers led by brothers Jack and Tyler McAllister – thrill-seeking professional cave explorers who run a world-famous team of divers. They arrive in Romania with a modified rebreather allowing a diver to remain submerged for up to 24 hours. The diving team includes rock-climbing professional Charlie, first scout Briggs, sonar expert Strode, and survival expert Top Buchanan.

Briggs is chosen to scout ahead; when contact is lost, the group presses on in the likelihood it is simply an equipment malfunction. After the group finds Briggs safely downriver, Strode is suddenly attacked and dragged away by a large, unknown creature. His water scooter explodes and causes a cave-in, forcing them to follow the river and search for a new way out. Jennings and Nicolai discover a strange parasite in all lifeforms they find. Unlike the known cave species, which have adapted over generations to life underground, Jennings believes this new parasite originated in the cave environment and has never been exposed to the outside world. The team stumble across the equipment and remains of previous explorers, unaware they are being stalked by the creatures.

They descend through a series of rapids, where Nicolai is attacked and Jack goes after him. Nicolai is dragged into a crevice but Jack breaks free, injured, after seeing letters tattooed on one of the creatures. Jack’s senses and physical features begin to transform. When Jack tells them they must go back up to escape, Charlie scales the wall and is attacked by a creature hidden in the passage above. She nearly drops to her death, but recovers, before the human-sized winged creature kills her on the cliff face in full view of the team. As Jack exhibits super-keen senses and inhumanly slanted pupils, Jennings speculates that Jack, the previous explorers, and all the ecosystem's creatures mutated due to the parasite; the infect humans resemble demons. Witnessing Jack’s transformation, some of the survivors question his judgement and the team splits up. Alex, Briggs, and Jennings go their own way, while Top and Tyler stay with Jack.

Jack, Top, and Tyler discover a cavern littered with human skeletons and realize this is the ancient battleground depicted in the abbey above; the abbey’s residents sealed the cave to prevent the creatures from escaping. After they see daylight through the underwater passage ahead, Tyler goes back to find the others, but Briggs dies defending Jennings and Alex, while the creatures enter the cavern and steal the rebreathers necessary to navigate the passage. Alex is killed before they can get in the water, but Tyler, Jennings and Top escape while Jack stays behind to hold off the creatures.

The three survivors return to civilization, and Top departs. Tyler asks Jennings if Jack could have survived in the open. She responds that she originally thought the parasite could only survive underground, but is now uncertain and thinks that it wants to get out. She bends down to kiss his cheek, revealing her pupils are like Jack's. As Katheryn walks away, Tyler realizes she knows she is infected with the parasite and intends to remain free, able to infect others. He runs after her, but she disappears in the crowd.



The Cave received mostly negative reviews, with a current rating of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 111 reviews. The critics consensus reads, "Despite its stylized and impressive sets, this horror-monster movie mish-mash suffers from endless cliches and wildly implausible plotlines."[1]

The main complaint was the lack of character building and overly familiar cliches, with Neil Smith of BBC Online calling it "a generic duffer that is as exciting as a hole in the ground".[2] Robert Koehler made the same observation in Variety, writing, "The Cave feels familiar as it goes through the rote edicts of the scientific crew vs. beastie formula".[3] In her review for the New York Times, Laura Kern praised the films sets and visual style, but denounced the script, writing "Having worked as second- and third-unit director on the Matrix trilogy and Dark City, Bruce Hunt is no stranger to inspired and stylish productions. But whereas those films managed to inject new life into tired territory, The Cave, his first effort as director, fails to generate anything resembling innovation.[4] Judy Chia Hui Hsu wrote in The Seattle Times, "the serenity of the largely aquatic underground world framed by majestic stalagmites and serpentine corridors succeeds in capturing the moviegoer’s attention," but added, "The insipid dialog lacks even a hint of comic relief, so the audience is grateful when the action quickly kicks into gear," and "one of the film’s biggest letdowns is that the vicious beast, seen in the full light of the final scenes, is not such a surprise after all. The creature is simply an amalgamation of monsters we’ve seen before".[5]

Box office

In the US, the film opened ranked #5 grossing a poor $6,147,294 at 2,195 sites, averaging $2,800.[6] It went on to have a final US gross of $15,007,991.[7] In Australia, it opened at 89 sites, averaging A$3,204 grossing A$285,121.[8] It had a massive 2nd weekend decrease by 74%, and had a finishing gross of A$570,131.[9] Worldwide, the film has grossed $33,296,457.[10]


Two soundtrack CDs were released on August 26, 2005 by Lakeshore Records, one with the score by the film's composers Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek and the other one which features tracks by heavy metal bands including Atreyu, Lacuna Coil, Diecast, Burning Brides, Ill Niño, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, It Dies Today, Trivium and more. Also, the single Nemo by Nightwish is featured during the end credits of the film.


  1. "The Cave (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  2. Smith, Neil (August 24, 2005). "BBC - Movies - review - The Cave". Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  3. Koehler, Robert. "The Cave". Robert Koehler. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  4. Kern, Laura. "Traveling Beneath the Earth, the Explorers Become the Prey - The New York Times". New York Laura Kern. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  5. Hsu, Judy. "Hollow feeling, monstrous letdown". Seattle Judy Chia Hui Hsu. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. "August 26–28, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  7. "The Cave". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  8. "Australian Weekly Box Office". Archived from the original on 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  9. "THE CAVE". Archived from the original on 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  10. "The Cave". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
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