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Secret of the Cave



Message-heavy mystery has boy dealing with parents' divorce.
  • Review Date: March 29, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Depicts life in a small Irish village. Also based on the classic children's book by Arthur Maxwell.

Positive messages

Here are some of the biggies: Do good for its own sake; we are at our strongest when we realize we need to ask for help; and the world is larger than our own problems, and making a positive impact on others can make our problems seem smaller.

Positive role models

Roy is understandably upset when he's dumped in his uncle's village by his father right as his parents are getting divorced. He acts out a little and can be thoughtless to his uncle, but then focuses on solving a mystery instead of wallowing. He comes to grips with his family's big change in a very thoughtful, mature way.

Violence & scariness

Plenty of scary music and cloaked figures running in shadows and getting chased, but never any real peril. Roy arrives in town as a coffin falls off a horse-drawn cart and attends a funeral. Most in the town think a ghost or angel is at work when mysterious things happen. Roy falls from a boat and almost drowns.

Sexy stuff

One tiny kiss.




Roy is always listening to his iPod until he soaks it in the ocean.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie, based on the classic children's book by Arthur S. Maxwell, was a project for the School of Visual Art and Design at Southern Adventist University. As such, it's a good choice for families who seek out Christian films specifically. Families who don't may find it a little message-heavy, but may enjoy the mild spook-factor; there's lots of scary music and cloaked figures running around in a small Irish fishing village. Roy, the young American boy at the film's center, is dumped there by his father to stay with his uncle while his parents file for divorce; he broods about this but comes through with a thoughtful and mature perspective.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Right after Seattleite Roy (Kevin Novotny) is dumped by his father at his uncle's thousands of miles away in an Irish village, a horse-drawn carriage dumps a coffin in the middle of the street. The townsfolk follow and Roy witnesses a funeral where the newbie priest (Sean Murphy) botches the service -- his notes fly off a seaside cliff in a heavy gust of wind and all he can do is stammer. Some in the town are incensed, especially Alistair's friend Peter McDonald (Joseph Kelly). Peter's not surprised when he hears eerie voices coming from a sea cave -- is Alistair's ghost angry? But then good things start happening all over town: a repaired boat and table, secret grocery deliveries, and more. Roy is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, mostly as a distraction from thinking about the reason he's there. His parents are getting a divorce and life in the states will never be the same again.

Is it any good?


SECRET OF THE CAVE is for people who like message movies. There are a lot of good ones, for sure. Wouldn't it be nice to go around doing nice things for people unawares? What a good feeling. But since that's the heart of the mystery there's not much depth to the storyline.

There's lots of cloaked figures running around and some creepy moments to reign viewers in and keep it interesting, but it doesn't build up to much at the end. And why does it take Roy so long to finally go in the cave? That's a mystery in itself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many messages here. Did any change your perspective, like it did Roy's? How does helping others help ourselves?

  • Families can also talk about movies that depict kids dealing with divorce or its aftermath. What other ones can you think of? For kids with divorced parents, are there characters you relate to? Do you think Roy's perspective is realistic?

Movie details

DVD release date:August 7, 2009
Cast:Kevin Novotny, Niamh Finn, Patrick Bergin
Director:Zach C. Gray
Studio:First Look Pictures
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild thematic elements and some brief scary images

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Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy May 11, 2015

Not bad, but scary

Its scary, thats about it. It still scares me as a teen and the first time I watched it I was 7. I've seen many scary films, but this for some reason scares me a TON
Kid, 9 years old July 28, 2012


This is a very scary and bad movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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