Mr. Movie

'Sanctum' caves in quickly

You are never going to get me into a cave. And not just because I’m claustrophobic.

My aversion to caves comes from 20-plus years of watching and reviewing films about them. Good things never happen in caves. Only bad things. Usually it is one blood-thirsty creature or another either eviscerating or gobbling up unfortunate characters in their order of importance to the movie.

Sanctum is a little different. The monstrous acts are those of ordinary humans and done in a survival of the fittest way.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Sanctum is “inspired” by a true story. Co-writer and producer Andrew Wight ( Ghosts of the Abyss) got trapped with 15 others in a cave that was flooded by a storm. Somehow they all survived. Twenty years later, the incident inspired a movie.

Not a very good movie.

A group of scientists are trapped in a huge, unmapped cave. Rain from a massive storm floods the entrance. They cannot get out the way they entered. Armed with their wits, the experience of a dictatorial and often hated leader, helmet lights with an endless battery supply and a cave that seems to glow in the dark, they seek another way out.

As in most movies of this ilk, the fate of the characters is set in the order of their importance to the script.

Pity director Alister Grierson and his acting crew. They do a wonderful job of trying to sell a horrible script packed with cliche lines and predictable problems.

There is one plus. The 3D is very good. In fact, the film is only found in 3D, so you don’t have much choice.

You will enjoy some of the cave shots and the underwater scenes. They are terrific but don’t help a movie with effects that would have made a much better documentary.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars

Rated R for violence, language, mature themes. It opens Friday, Feb. 4 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinema 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.