CAVED IN: PREHISTORIC TERROR
Caved In was almost certainly inspired by the spate of underground horror films that came out in 2005, including the sleeper hit of The Descent (2005) and others such as The Cave (2005) and The Cavern/Within (2005), all featuring cavers encountering troglodytes of some form (usually of humanoid origin). Caved In adds something to the mix that takes everything into the realm of the cheesily preposterous the idea of the spelunkers being attacked by a horde of giant beetles that have been hiding in a salt mine.
Caved In is routine in all regards. The first half of the film up until the beetles get loose seems filled with routine set pieces designed to create suspense at regular intervals people nearly falling out of the elevator cage, a horde of roaches appearing out of the wall. Pepin piles on a reasonably high level of gore, including a nifty shot of the beetles snipping Cristian Popas head clean off. Unlike The Descent, The Cave et al, Caved In has not gone on location in genuine caves but was shot on a studio set in Romania. Unfortunately, the difference between the two is apparent the mine floors here look too flat and the walls just too clean to seem like real cave locations. The plot is written to the predictably formulaic a series of routine suspense set-pieces and betrayals to keep drama going below ground, the B plot of the family being taken hostage above ground.
The film assembles a typical cast for this type of fare. There is 1980s teen heartthrob Christopher Atkins who has at last grown up and matured into leading man looks where he holds the show reasonably well. There is also former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1992-9) regular Colm Meaney. Meaney has proven himself as an actor capable of maintaining his own outside of Trek fandom, although gives all evidence of slumming it here.
Richard Pepins other films of genre note are: Cyber Tracker (1994), Firepower (1994), Cybertracker 2 (1995), Dark Breed (1995), Hologram Man (1995), T-Force (1995), The Silencers (1996), The Sender (1997), Y2K/Terminal Countdown (1999) and Mindstorm (2001). PM Entertainment has produced some 80 plus films, almost all being action films. Their other genre productions include Death By Dialogue (1988), Hollow Gate (1988), The Art of Dying (1991), Alien Intruder (1993), CIA: Code Name Alexa (1993), CIA II: Target Alexa (1994), The Power Within (1995), Steel Frontier (1995), Rage (1996), Sutures (2009), as well as the childrens films Storybook (1995), Two Bits and Pepper (1995) and Little Bigfoot (1997).