Main cast: Cuba Gooding Jr (Mack), Ray Winstone (Blakeley), Taryn Manning (Doc), Valerie Cruz (Elissa), Henry Rollins (Father Fulton), Bill Moseley (Professor Duncan), Zack Ward (Nickels), Dania Ramirez (Shanae), Franky G (Hammer), Stephanie Jacobsen (Yoshi), Brandon Fobbs (Click), Jason London (Hicks), and Ron Perlman (Wesley)
Director: Jason Connery
What has happened to Cuba Gooding Jr’s career? The poor dear has been on a free-fall deeper into the barely-B grade movie ghetto, and it’s such a shame as he has such a nice rear end in Jerry Maguire. At any rate, he has the dubious honor to headline Jason Connery’s hammy directorial fare The Devil’s Tomb. Hey, but he has Ron Perlman for company, and we all know Mr Perlman will show up in anything that pays halfway decently.
After having an acting career that never really took off to great heights, Mr Connery decides to tackle the horror genre with something that is best described as “Event Horizon in a modern-day Middle-Eastern pyramid thingy”. Mack leads a team of soldiers that are directed by the CIA agent Elissa Cardell to rescue her father, the scientist Wesley, from a dig site where things have gone wrong. What has gone wrong in there? Well, these guys will soon find out, as nothing is what it seems down there in the mysterious underground structure.
I’ve lost count of how many scenes that are… well, I guess the nice word to use is “homage”, as this movie is clearly, er, paying homage to more established – and expensively made – survival horror movies that came before it. Along the way, I have to sit through wooden acting from a cast of generic stereotypes who can’t seem to do anything smart even if their lives depend on it. It’s hilarious enough that the female soldiers are all dolled up – do soldiers do that? – but I have a good laugh when Mack starts announcing to everyone in the place that the bombs are going to go off so they have all better meet at this place within this time limit. Yes, invite the monsters, which demonstrate good mastery of the English language, to come along as well, please.
Elevators said to be inaccessible conveniently become ready to use when the need arises. Maybe the scriptwriters forgot what they put earlier in the script after excessive consumption of alcohol. Of course, the bad guy won’t use this elevator to escape when he has the chance, preferring instead to babble like every clichéd generic villain in the land. When in a strange place and confronted by a creepy woman, the most sensible thing to do is, of course, make out with that woman – with predictable consequences. And on and on, the tomfoolery in this movie just keep coming from start to finish.
At the end of the day, The Devil’s Tomb feels like something cobbled together by drunk amateurs in a valiant but futile effort to emulate better horror movies of this sort. It’s not scary, the pacing is dull, and the only diversion to be had here is wondering just what kind of blackmail materials Mr Connery must have to be able to persuade the poor wretched souls listed in the credits to work on this pile of poo.