This movie unfolds as though the scenes were assembled in random order. At least I think that’s what it looks like; it is hard to say because it was so dark and murky looking.
It appears to be some sort of story about a cave. These hotshot cave divers are called in to do some exploring. Just after they set up camp out of communication range with the surface, their route back to the top is closed off and one of their group is killed. If they stay where they are, no rescue team will reach them before their supplies run out. So they have to see if they can find another way out. But between our intrepid explorers and the exit lie some very nasty and icky creatures, some microscopic, and some very large.
But it’s awful hard to work up any interest in seeing the characters escape the cave or the creatures because they’re interchangeable and boring (except for the always-charismatic Morris Chestnut who seems to have wandered in from another and much better movie). And it’s awful hard to work up any interest in the progress they make because it’s just too darn hard to follow. They go up, they go down, they go here, they go there, they go into the water, they get out of the water. I could never figure out what they were doing or trying to do. It’s not easy working up much interest in the creatures, either. They look like props from a middle school musical production of Alien. The film has a couple of good scares for the spooky stories around a campfire crowd but it takes a long, murky, time getting there. Believe me, the shadows on the wall in Plato’s cave were more fun to watch than this movie.
Parents should know that this is a very scary movie with intense peril, jump-out-at-you surprises, disgusting monsters, and graphic injuries and deaths. Characters use brief strong language. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of diverse characters and women as capable, strong, brave, and loyal.
Families who see this movie should talk about how the group assessed and responded to the problems they faced. How did they decide who should make the decisions? Why did Jack and Katherine respond differently to the same situation?
Families who enjoy this movie might like to learn more about caves and even try a little cave diving. The Movila Caves in Romania, an inspiration for this film, have a complex micro-ecosystem with many unique species not found anywhere else on earth. Families might also enjoy Fantastic Voyage, and (for mature audiences) Open Water and Alien.