I’m sure La Cueva doesn’t mean In Darkness We Fall, but what would film industry be without inspired translations of films? I wish this was my only complain in the review of the second film I saw during this year’s London Film Festival. But it’s not. The title isn’t even a problem when you think about this film, or rather, this too-long footage of people crawling around in a cave. I thought everyone was bored with found footage anyway, but I guess this is what’s called the circle of life- it begins with Rec (I know it doesn’t, it begins with Blair Witch Project or even earlier) and ends (hopefully!) with La Cueva. And I’m a fan of found footage horror.
Before I get to the review itself, I just want to say that this year’s London Film Festival line-up is brilliant. People have probably been trying to tell you that for a long time, but I just want to confirm that you will not regret spending money on it this year. It’s the best line-up ever.
Now, back to La Cueva. I used to watch a lot of horror films and horror used to be my second favourite genre after genreless films. In the recent years, however, I have been living in England, where horrors don’t seem to get distributed as often as they do in Poland. So I missed a lot, a lot of films. My summers were sad and my DVD collection shrunk to pale sentiments. So I’m not very up-to-date with what’s good and new in horror genre. But I can bloody say when I see a film which just can’t be bothered to entertain.
Yes, horrors are all about entertainment. It might be a weird form of entertainment, but it’s comparable to a rollercoaster. So when a film which is supposed to belong to this genre is pure boring for the majority of it, it just fails to fulfil the major requirement. And I pass. La Cueva is boring.
And I know what you’re going ti say- Blair Witch Project is kind of boring, too. And Paranormal Activity. To be honest, a lot of people are skeptical about found footage horror because most of them are pretty boring. But hey- Blair Witch Project is still entertaining. It’s short enough for us to care about what’s happening and so weird that we stay on the edge of our seats throughout trying to figure out what exactly happened. And yes, the characters are annoying, but they’re annoying because they’re scared. We can tell that we would probably act the same. And they are trying to do something. They are thinking. Whereas in La Cueva, this is the major issue. Our ‘heroes’ do not think.
I’m sorry, I have no empathy for someone who is basically begging to get into trouble. So we have a group of friends…or no, let’s actually start from the very beginning.
At the beginning the camera is normal. There’s none of this found footage crap. Just a normal camera showing us around an unidentified scenery of water and trees. And then the tents! The tents are empty! CUT!
And off to hand-held camera film. Why? Why even bother with the beginning? Ok, I know the end does it, too. But why? There’s really no point whatsoever. So now, we are stuck with our annoying bunch and by annoying I mean, holy shit, let me out annoying. For a very long time we have to watch them party, and they party hard so we get all the gross details we don’t need to see. I literally saw someone’s asshole. And if it wasn’t a Lars Von Trier’s film, there’s no excuse for that sort of closeness.
They drink, they drink and they smoke pot. They throw up and they have sex and they prank each other and it’s all very…boring. Yes, it’s really boring because I don’t know them and I was promised a horror film so kill someone please?
Finally the hangovered morning comes and one of them (Jaco? I think) says, hey guys there’s a big cave let’s go. Ok, few things here:
it’s a cave you don’t know anything about. Will it collapse? Should you take something with you? How far are you planning to go into it? Should you actually make some sort of plan?
This is where I lose my hope. Our heroes just get up and go. They have:
a couple of flashlights, a phone, and half a bottle of water.
whatever I’m wearing right now.
And that’s why I have no sympathy. yes, do die. I will be very shocked if you don’t. Who does that? And guess what, they just continue walking into the depth of the cave that seem to go on forever! They also go through the thinnest crevasses the cave has to offer and at some point one of them says, hey does anyone know where we are? Maybe we should just go back? But Jaco says, no, no, let’s go I know everything (HOW?) and they just blindly follow him (WHY??)
And then they finally realise that they are getting really tired, one of the girls (Bego? I think) is hangovered as hell and let’s go back guys whoops we’re lost. Because we didn’t mark the fucking route. Also, we have no water and our flashlights are kind of crap. So hey, how about dying?
But they don’t die just yet. First we have to crawl with them around the cave, some bad parody of Blair Witch Project and then listen to Bego dying unglamourously making a sound of Frodo dying in the scene where he gets stabbed by the Nazgul. Apparently this is what dehydration sounds like.
People get irritated, especially Jaco who turns out to be some sort of psychopath who doesn’t like anyone and wants everyone dead so I have no idea wht he hanged out with this bunch at the beginning. Finally he suggests they draw shoelaces and sacrifice someone for the good of all. The other girl, Celia, the only girl with some sort of motifs, protests but they do it anyway and Bego gets killed and eaten. What comes after is just a mess. There’s simply no reason why these people had been friends before what happens to them and we are just glad the film is leading to its end.
La Cueva is pointless, boring and badly made, but it’s biggest problem lies in the script- it’s a mockery of real found footage horror films and the characters are flat as my feelings towards this film. It will be forgotten.