I’m glad I didn’t get stuck in a cave; by the looks of it, that would really suck. Sanctum did a great job of creating a suspenseful film, but bombed at any attempt of realism.
A team of explorers, including a father and son, decide to dive into a cave that has regions as yet unmapped by humans. By coincidence a large storm is brewing and about to hit while the group investigates the depths of the cave. Choosing not to leave (while it’s still possible to do so) is a big mistake as the storm appears and all must fight to survive the harrowing situation.
It’s obvious that Sanctum is meant to be a thrilling adventure. Parts of the film had me holding my breath, and I even had to remind myself that I wasn’t trapped below with the spelunkers. Maybe that comes from my fear of drowning and being stuck in tight places, but I think the film was shot well enough for the entire audience to feel that way.
Beyond a wonderful sense of choking claustrophobia, Sanctum has very few redeeming qualities. The script is one of the worst writing experiences of recent memory, with laughable lines that dilute scenes, and actors poorly executing every lame word. I kid you not, in one instance, a man has fallen and when a team member tries to save him, the father (Roxburgh’s Frank), and leader of the group, shouts: “He’s broken every bone in his body,” without once looking at the man’s wounds.
I also saw this film in 3-D and I doubt that there’s much difference in traditional format, but I almost think that this special feature made a tepid film a bit more interesting. In particular, the scenes in which the explorers swim through caves actually look more like footage you’d see on The Discovery Channel.
Sanctum deserves little credit for what it accomplished. However, for this genre of film, I had a perfectly fine time feeling the suspense and looking forward to the moment when I could breathe fresh air again.