Cave Women on Mars (2008)
Review by Nic Brown

Shadow Creek Studios has been making a name for itself in the independent film world with its clever, low budget features that pay homage to some of the b-movie classics of the 1950's. Their latest and arguably best feature to date is the film CAVE WOMEN ON MARS. Set in the distant future, 1987, the film follows the first manned mission to the red planet.

The intrepid adventurers on this mission are Captain Jackson (Josh Craig) and Lieutenant Elliott (Daniel Sjerven). They make the journey to Mars in a classically styled rocket ship complete with office chair seating and all the oversized dials and gauges you'd expect in a b-movie spaceship. After landing they split up to explore the planet and look for the life signs they detected from orbit.

While Jackson wanders in a mostly barren desert, Elliott finds a lush forest and soon encounters the humanoid inhabitants of the planet. Unfortunately for him, these inhabitants are the "Cave Women" of the film's title. The first group he encounters is led by Hagra and her partner Gorga (Emily Fradenburgh). Elliott quickly discovers that the women of this planet do not hold males in very high regard. In fact Hagra and Gorga try to capture and enslave Elliott.

Elliott escapes from the "brunette" tribe and runs into Eina and her protégé Orla (Alana Bloom) who are from the planet's other, all blonde, tribe. Although they don't try to enslave Elliott, they don't trust him either. Eina begins to take a liking to the first male she's ever met who wasn't a sniveling coward. She also thinks that Elliott may be part of an ancient prophecy among her people and wants to take him to their high priestess. So begins Elliott's journey to discover the mysteries of the CAVE WOMEN ON MARS.

CAVE WOMEN ON MARS is not perfect. The film drags at times as the characters wander the woodlands of Mars. Also, for a film called CAVE WOMEN ON MARS there is one thing missing: the caves! There is a barren landscape, there's a forest, there are spacemen, women in cool pre-historic looking costumes, and even a monster or two, but there is not even a mention of a cave. Those issues aside, over all the film does what it sets out to do: have fun with the classic b-movie sci-fi genre. From the stiff, "Captain Kirk" dialogue of Captain Jackson to the campy props and plot, the movie manages to capture the feel of a 1950's film. This allows it to both pay tribute to them and still remain its own film. CAVE WOMEN ON MARS is also has a fantastic cast, with Daniel Sjerven playing the bewildered and abused spaceman perfectly. Brooke Lemke is fun to watch as the tough but emotionally confused Eina and Rachel Grubb is perfect as the evil Hagra, who comes across like a dominatrix gone camping as she stalks Eina and Elliott through the forest. Also worth noting is the performance by the perpetually sneering Emily Fradenburgh, who's expressions were humorously vicious in their intensity. So if you love sci-fi films from the 50's and 60's check out writer/director Christopher R. Mihm's CAVE WOMEN ON MARS. Make sure you bring your 3-D glasses, because although it's not shot in 3-D, it just seems like you should be wearing them to watch this one!