Features Live Action Movies

The Dive

Director – Maximilian Erlenwein – 2022 – Germany – Cert. 15 – 91m


Two women go diving near a remote stretch of coastline and find themselves in trouble – out in UK cinemas on Friday, August 25th following its UK Premiere at Frightfest on Thursday, August 24th

Opening with an image of light shining through the waves on the surface of the sea – reminiscent of nothing quite so much as light similarly shining through the title lettering at the start of sci-fi horror shocker The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) – this promises something dark, foreboding and threatening from the get go. The talkative Drew (Sophie Lowe) plans diving trips for herself and her more taciturn sister May (Louisa Krause).

On this occasion, the pair head toward a remote stretch of coastline in a rental car listening to the radio playing Only You by The Platters, a song which clearly means a lot to both of them judging by the enthusiastic way they sing along. (It would be nice to think that the radio station plays other tunes as well, but this is all we hear, presumably because the production could only afford the movie rights to the one song.… Read the rest

Features Live Action Movies

The Descent

Director – Neil Marshall – 2005 – UK – Cert. 18 – 99m


A group of female friends go on a caving expedition…which then goes horribly wrong – review originally published in What’s On In London, 2005

Here’s something different: a caving movie. Tough to pull off in terms of production logistics, since you’re dealing with confined spaces, often very small and lacking any light source whatever. Although the (fictional) cave system in question is accessed via the Appalachian mountains, this is a British film made mostly in the studio, where the cave sets were constructed or, in the case of larger spaces, faked by a variety of FX trickery. Amazingly, you never see the join and it all feels incredibly real.

Genre is psychological horror, at least to start with, as a group of female friends go on a caving expedition…which then goes horribly wrong. Mood is set up Dead Calm style via a traumatic car accident in the first few minutes. After that, the tension never lets up. There follows argument, panic, gory injury and more than a few surprises. Defying expectations, the proceedings stubbornly refuse to settle into cliché, keeping you on the edge of your seat right up to an ending which will sit in your mind days afterwards as a subject for discussion.… Read the rest

Features Live Action Movies

Cave Rescue

Director – Tom Waller – 2022 – Thailand – US Cert. PG-13 – 99m


A Thai-based dramatisation of the 2018 Thailand boys’ football team cave rescue, with some of the rescuers playing themselves – on Blu-ray (US only) Tuesday, September 13th

In 2018, the world held its breath when the 12 boys of a football team and their 24-year-old coach became trapped in a cave when rain fell unexpectedly and water levels within the cave system started to rise. Incredibly, the ensuing rescue attempt involving divers from the US, UK, Ireland and Canada got all 13 out alive. According to this film, sadly, there was one fatality among the Thai Navy SEAL divers involved in the rescue.

Quick off the mark, Thailand-based producer-director Waller made the story into a feature film The Cave (2019), aimed at the Thai market. With Netflix having already secured the rights to the boys’ stories – a miniseries Thai Cave Rescue (2022) is coming to Netflix US in September 2022 – Waller and his co-writers had to find an alternative route to telling the story. A meeting with Irish diver Jim Warny, who was involved in the rescue operation, resulted in the decision to base the narrative not around the thirteen people trapped underground but the men and women who attempted to get them out (mostly men, although there are one or two women featured among the paramedics not to mention an assistant to the local Governor).… Read the rest