Sony // 2001 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 5th, 2002
The future sucks.
Teenage Caveman is the story of children doing naughty things in a post "environmental" apocalyptic future. Apparently, most of earth has been wiped out, though humans still live in caves with religious zealots who control their desires and fantasies. When a group of teenagers escape their cave dwellings and head for the hills (in this case, the long deserted city of Seattle), they run into the sexy Neil (Richard Hillman) and Judith (the horrid Tiffany Limos) who live in a palace complete with computers, televisions, and other past amenities that made life grand. From here, the kids also learn about the joys and disasters of sex: in one scene, almost everyone gets butt naked and shags the night away in a steaming whirlpool. Soon those who participated in the orgy begin to feel a might bit strange due in part to a virus that's been passed to them from their new and sexy hosts! Only David (Andrew Keegan) and his lover Sarah (Tara Subkoff) are healthy -- and it's up to them to find out what's up with Neil and Judith before everyone becomes prehistoric lunchmeat!
Teenage Caveman was apparently based on a cheapie B-movie of the same name from 1958, universally reviled as a very good "bad" movie. It must look like Star Wars in comparison to its 2001 counterpart. For those who don't know who director Larry Clark is, let me initiate you: he's the guy that helmed the über-disturbing Kids and the teenage tit-fest Bully. Clark seems to have a fetish for young people's butts, boobs, and bodies -- so much so that I am surprised Teenage Caveman is marketed as a horror-sci-fi flick instead of a late night Cinemax sex show. The fourth in special effects master Stan Winston's "Creature Features" movie series (five in total), Teenage Caveman is easily the worst film of the series thus far (I try to keep telling myself one more to go...one more to go...one more to go...). Those expecting anything other than a few CGI gore scenes and enough nudity to shame Adam and Eve will be sorely disappointed -- Teenage Caveman meanders along as a dramatic talkie for most of its running time, pausing periodically to let the characters disrobe in a hot tub and fool around. I wonder if the actors realize that a starring role in this film isn't going to do much for their respective Hollywood careers. Andrew Keegan plays the lead cave dweller with all the charisma of a yam. Complimenting his performance is the nearly anorexic Tara Subkoff as his effectively bland love interest. The only actor with a shred of real excitement is Richard Hillman (Detroit Rock City) as a genetically supercharged human who thinks it's fashionable to wear the front of his hair in a vertical ponytail. Like the rest of the flicks in this series, Teenage Caveman waits far too long to bring out the titular title beast -- by the time one of the characters turns into a drooling "teenage caveman," everyone within earshot of the film has already lost interest.
Teenage Caveman is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. With a fairly solid array of colors and black levels, this picture presentation looks better than expected. Aside of a few instances of edge enhancement and artifacting, this transfer should please fans of schlock cinema everywhere. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and is also very well produced. The film utilizes a good amount of directional effects, filtering most of them though both the front and rear channels throughout the entire presentation. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai (those Koreans...they sure do love their Teenage Caveman). The extra features on Teenage Caveman are thankfully kept to a bare minimum; included on this disc is a short and pointless behind-the-scenes featurette (clocking in around two minutes), a few galleries of conceptual sketches, production stills, and other images, and theatrical trailers for more "Creature Feature" movies and two other Columbia horror titles (Bram Stoker's Dracula and Urban Legends: Final Cut).
The future does suck. And so does this movie.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* "Making-of" Featurette
* Photo Gallery
* Theatrical Trailers