When nine people enter The Cave, you can bet nine won't be coming out. Like Anaconda and The Core, this large cast of characters has plenty of disposable personalities that make good fodder for whatever lies beneath. The real challenge of the film then, is to guess who's going to pack it in first.
In this script, Jack (Cole Hauser) and his brother Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) own a topnotch exploration company that boasts some of the best cavers and biggest egos in the world. They've been hired by Dr. Nicolai (Marcel Iures) and his research partner, Katherine (Lena Headey), to come to the mountains of Romania and help map a legendary cavern whose entrance has just been uncovered.
Outfitting the group with sonar guns and life support equipment, the team belays themselves down into the darkness in order to establish a base camp. Underground they find huge open rooms and an entire river system that runs for miles. Then, while investigating one of the tunnels, a diver is attacked by an unidentified creature. The ruckus causes a freak accident sealing the cave opening and leaving the adventurers trapped more than a mile below the surface.
With no other choice, the seven men and two women don their diving gear and head down river to find another exit. However, they soon discover they aren't the only ones who have been in the subterranean lair when they happen upon an old pair of leather boots and the gnawed bone of a human leg. They also begin to hear the eerie chirping of some unknown grotto dweller.
The crisis increases when a clawed beast slashes Jack across the back and leaves him fighting an infection. When the other cavers question his ability to lead, Tyler and the team's right-hand man, Buchanan (Morris Chestnut), try to keep the group safely on track through the endless labyrinth of rocky caverns that start to look surprisingly similar after a while.
Profanities seem to increase proportionate to the stress levels as the band tries one offshoot after another in an attempt to find a way out. Tensions among the hikers grow once the creatures systematically begin to attack them, gruesomely pinning one man to the ceiling by impaling him on stalactites.
With little character development, the plot relies almost solely on watery assaults and violent skirmishes with the winged beasts to move the storyline along. It also openly sets itself up for an aboveground sequel. But, with any luck, producers won't cave in to that blatant suggestion.