A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?