A group of good-looking people go into a cave and soon find themselves stuck with no apparent help coming from above. One at a time, the group is killed off by creatures who dwell in the caves.
Well, I just recently saw both of these movies and the plot is virtually the same.
There are some small differences in the plot. All characters in The Descent are women whereas The Cave has mostly men with two female characters.
In The Descent, they are going into a cave for recreation. In The Cave, they are going into it for research. One is located in America, the other in Romania. One in the middle of a mountain, the other under a buried church.
However, the biggest difference between these two movies is The Descent is great. The Cave sucks.
Let’s start with the bad. Or should I say The Cave?
The movie starts off pretty well. You are introduced to the idea that there is something living underneath an old church and that, a long time ago, the passages into the caves were blocked. 30 years ago some people are trying to get into the caves, something goes terribly wrong and an avalanche covers both the Church and the caves. The people are caught under the debris.
Fast forward 30 years and someone has uncovered the church and wants to go into the caves. A team of diver/explorers are brought on board and they start going into the caves. Soon after getting into the cave, the opening collapses. They then find they aren’t alone and demon-like creatures start attacking them, killing off one character after another. This last sentence pretty much sums up how interesting the rest of the movie is. Very predictable. And you don’t really care who lives and who dies. The demons are so obviously sci-fi as to come off not being scary (when the movie turns off, you can pretty much know with certainty that something like this could never happen).
In contrast, there were certain things that made The Descent work really well:
First and foremost, the movie has well established characters who you care about.
The creatures are much more realistic. Through the theory of natural selection in a cave, such creates could exist.
You find out about the creatures with the characters, not through second rate special effects. There is a scene in The Descent where the creatures are approaching one of the girls. She remains completely still and silent. The creature stops right in front of her and you can see the blank gaze in it’s eyes as it scans for any sound. Soon after, this girl explains to the others that they seem to “see” with sound, not sight. She says this not as a gesture to the audience, but in an attempt to keep the other girls alive as long as possible.
To explain the same thing to the audience, in The Cave, you can see the creature’s point of view as it makes sounds which echo against objects, much like the “vision” of Daredevil in the not-so-great Ben Affleck movie.
So, if you want to see a great cave movie, watch The Descent. Skip The Cave.