THE SHARKS’ CAVE (1978) Reviews and overview

 

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The Sharks’ Cave is a 1978 paranormal mystery action horror film that involves sharks controlled by a strange force in the Bermuda Triangle.

Directed by Tonino Ricci (Night of the Sharks; Rush; Thor the Conquerer; Panic; Encounters in the Deep; Cross Current) [as Anthony Richmond] from a screenplay co-written with Fernando Galiana and Mauricio Melchiorre.

The Italian-Spanish co-production stars Andrés García, Janet Agren, Arthur Kennedy, Pino Colizzi and Máximo Valverde.

The alternately funky and electronic soundtrack score was composed by Stelvio Cipriani (The Bloodstained ShadowTentaclesWhat Have They Done to Your Daughters?The Iguana with the Tongue of FireA Bay of Blood).

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Review:

Andres Montoya (Andrés García), thought dead and lost at sea for months, washes up on a beach. He has no memory. The crew of his ship, and the ship itself, have disappeared. While he was away and presumed dead, Ricardo (Máximo Valverde), his brother, has wooed a few kisses out of Angelica (Janet Agren), the fiance of Andres. But that goes nowhere.

Despite being a blubbering mess and clearly having gone through a traumatic few months shown in watery flashbacks, Angelica is repetitively told by a hilariously optimistic doctor (Nino Segurini) not to worry and that Andres is totally fine.

And Optimistic Doctor is sort of right because it’s not long before Andres is back to work. Andres, Ricardo and their pal Enrique (Pino Colizzi) are hired by Mr Jackson (Arthur Kennedy) to salvage a plane that went down around the Bermuda Triangle. Andres doesn’t waste any time getting back into the water with Enrique.

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Near where the plane sits on the bottom of the ocean, they find a strange entrance to a cave surrounded by sleeping sharks. But sharks don’t sleep, so Andres is pretty freaked out and comes to the conclusion that there’s some sort of ancient civilization living under the sea controlling the sharks. Ahem.

Anyway, they salvage the plane, bring up the goods, only to find a gun pulled on them. Mr Jackson is a double-crossing gangster! Enrique, under the water, disappears assumed drowned, but Andres manages to escape, diving into the ocean.

Despite a few bullet wounds in the back and floating face down in the water, Andres proves he is practically indestructible and survives. He then becomes obsessed with discovering the secret to the cave of the sharks and the fate of Enrique, all while avoiding being gunned down by jackass Jackson.

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There’s also a really odd and short-lived suicide subplot involving Lucio Fulci regular Cinzia Monreale, a bunch of hippies, a boat and the Bermuda Triangle. It is intercut with a shot of a doll sinking underwater and spitting out blood. Got that?

The Sharks’ Cave is a seriously strange shark film, unlike any I’ve seen before. While it looks and sounds like your typical Italian actioner, complete with a funked-up score that violently cuts in and out of scenes and flat leading characters, when the idea of a hidden aquatic city is revealed, pretty much out of nowhere, things get weird. It culminates in a truly insane finale that brings to mind the Stargate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey… only underwater… and with sharks.

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For the most part, in terms of sharks alone, The Sharks’ Cave is nothing special. The sharks are not particularly threatening as the wobble about on the bottom of the seabed. The imagery of sharks silently guarding a cave is admittedly rather haunting. That said, it’s also likely a few sharks met their end in order to achieve these shots, which isn’t a nice thought.

Not only is the ending utterly mad, but it also features a chaotic massacre as sharks tear off limbs and heads like maniacs while Andres uses a human torso like an underwater (and psychotic) mariachi. For shark fanatics, this is worth a watch for the ending alone.

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The Sharks’ Cave begins as an unassuming, hammy action-adventure, but by its ending, it’s something quite different. I can safely say I’ve never seen a film like The Sharks’ Cave before, and I’m glad it exists.

Mr Dave Jackson, guest reviewer via Mondo Exploito

Other reviews:

“Starts as a routine deep-sea diving treasure hunt film and at the 30min mark out of the blue a hippie cult sacrifice themselves to sharks. This is never referred to again in the rest of the film but later there’s an underwater deity / sunken kingdom that possesses a shark to attack the protagonist in one of the bleaker and more beguiling final scenes in a movie.” Elric Kane

“The miniature effects are dreadful, Ricci never able to conceal the fact that the ships and planes are mostly “played” by models, the plot is muddled, the acting flat and the dialogue barely even functional. It’s one of the least well-known Jaws rip-offs and with good reason.” The EOFFTV Review

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“The finale of the film is amazing: it involves a massive shark frenzy. It’s in these scenes where the viewer gets to see some excitement from Ricci: they are photographed in a very claustrophobic way; the jump scares work; the lighting is terrific, and the shots of the sharks are menacing.” Quiet Cool

“The story in itself is fairly intriguing, the dreamlike visuals are atmospheric (a lot of thanks to Stelvio Cipriani’s bleeps and bloops) and although the miniatures are awful, they do bring a certain weird something into the story […] This isn’t a Jaws clone, it is a weird sci-fi movie with sharks and although nothing really gels into a coherent experience, it is still weird enough to warrant a watch.” Rubbermonsterfetishism

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Cast and characters:

Andrés García … Andres Montoya
Janet Agren … Angelica
Arthur Kennedy … Mr Jackson
Pino Colizzi … Enrique
Máximo Valverde … Ricardo Montoya
Cinzia Monreale … Girl on boat
Adriana Falco … Girl on boat
Óscar Álvarez
Sergio Doria
Angelo Calligaris
Sergio Sinceri

Technical details:

92 minutes
Audio: Mono

Alternate titles:

Bermuda: Cave of the Sharks
Bermude: la fossa maledetta – Italy
Bermudas: la cueva de los tiburones – Spain
Cave of the Sharks
Shark Cave

Trailer:

French trailer:

Clip:

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