Horrortoberfest ’18 Day 29 – Living Dark: The Story of Ted the Caver (2013)

The original story of Ted the Caver is some seriously old school internet horror from way back in 2001 on an angelfire website. I can remember reading it back when it was still all the rage since there weren’t really any sites like Reddit where you could find a bunch of creepypasta (god, I hate that term). I’m not sure why someone would wait over a decade before deciding to make an adaptation of the story (legal rights, maybe?) or why they would change the things from the original that they did but then I’m just here to watch the films, not make them.

The plot of the movie follows the events from the original website fairly closely with a few significant changes. Ted’s caver friend “B” has been replaced with Brad, Ted’s brother. The movie adds in a lot of sibling drama that it uses as filler in between the various caving scenes. Apparently Brad is married to Ted’s old fiancé or something like that. Anyway, they find a cave near where their dad is buried and try to explore it. The front half of the movie is extremely faithful to the story with the events around widening the original hole and the first explorations into the passage going about the same. Once the movie introduces Joe, however, the movie takes a pretty sharp turn from the original story.

Instead of merely being about obsession with the unknown and a creeping sense of horror that something isn’t right; the back half of the movie turns into a pretty straightforward monster movie. No longer are we dealing with half-seen glimpses of a shadowy figure from the corner of the eye. Now we have a group of full on rock people that are attempting to straight up murder you physically. There is even a scene where they find a newspaper headline where a family went missing around the area of the cave and they assume it’s whatever they let loose from the cave. This turn might have been necessary for the makers of the movie in order to pad out what was a short story into a fill feature length film but it noticeably suffers from the inclusion.

The movie also throws in a mentally disabled character, Uncle Charlie, for the brothers to have to chase after in order to get the end of the film. The original ends with this very creepy message about how Ted is going to go back and he has to find out what is making the weird sounds in the cave and why he seems to be having disturbing dreams/hallucinations. Here we have a character that is barely in the movie find out where the cave is, get down in there, climb through a passage that even experienced cavers could barely get through, and all for nothing. It’s not like there was a reason for him to go there and he ends up dying when they try to save him. It all feels like they just didn’t really know what to do with the story when it wasn’t sticking to the original text.

While the beginning of the film seemed like a pretty decent low budget attempt at making the Ted the Caver story a reality; the end of the film was just awful and ruined most of the goodwill it had built up. I’d give it a 1.5 out of 5.

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