Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Movie Review: "The Descent" (2005)

Director: Neil Marshall
Year: 2005
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

A group of friends who gather annually for an extreme nature activity decides to go spelunking for this year's event. The task at hand is much more difficult than anticipated. As if exploring a cave wasn't hard enough, they soon discover they are not alone and are being hunted by a mysterious predator.



The Descent 2005 horror movie still
"If there's no risk, what's the point?" (Image Source)
If you're a person who is uncomfortable in tight or enclosed spaces, the tiny caves in "The Descent" are enough to send you into a panic. Combine this danger with weird predatory creatures that go BANG! in the darkness and this flick may take you from somewhat scared to downright terrified. "The Descent" is written and directed by Neil Marshall, who is also known for writing and directing films like "Dog Soldiers" and "Doomsday." This film focuses on a group of friends who like to have fun doing extreme outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, base jumping, and mountain climbing. They all come together each year for a vacation where they do something exciting and fun. This year, the unofficial leader of the group Juno (Natalie Mendoza) has picked spelunking for their adventure of choice. One group member named Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) suffered a massive tragedy after last year's event, losing both her husband and child in the blink of an eye. Juno thinks getting back out there will be the best thing for her. Juno has picked out a cave to explore, and the girls are under the impression that it will be a piece of cake to traverse. It turns out, it is a lot more difficult than anyone expected. Once they are deep into the cave system, the women are terrified to discover that they are not alone and that may have to face off with cave-dwelling flesh-eating predators who have evolved to hunt in the dark. Now, the women are no longer looking to have fun, they are just hoping to survive and find a way out of the darkness.
The Descent 2005 horror movie still
"I'm an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider." (Image Source)
"The Descent" is a supremely effective creature feature. As we mentioned above, it takes advantage of its claustrophobic setting to help steep itself in tension. Some of the most heart-pounding moments don't come from interactions with the creatures, but from moments when the women are presented with natural obstacles to overcome, whether it be wriggling through a tiny opening, crossing a large drop-off, or dealing with a compound fracture. These moments alone are enough to bring you to the edge of your seat long before any mutated beings show up. Like most horror movies, in the lead-up to their cave exploration, we do occasionally get the occasional fake-out jump scare, which is to be expected from the horror genre. They don't bother us unless they are overused. When the creatures do finally appear, all hell breaks loose, and the tone revs up from a methodically-paced survival drama to a fast-paced action horror. These women are not without resources, and they hold their own quite well despite their many obstacles. They are just outnumbered and are faced with natural disadvantages when it comes to the deep-cave environment. "The Descent" also succeeds where the drama is concerned. Sarah has gone through an unspeakable tragedy. If we are being honest, cave-diving is the last thing we'd want to do if we had just recently lost a family member. In addition to this sadness, there is also some well-handled personal conflict between a couple of the characters, which adds some much-needed depth (and even a few surprises) to the film. We also like the surreal dream sequences experienced by one of the characters, which make us question her credibility early on when claiming she saw something in the dark.
The Descent 2005 horror movie still
"No one's ever been down here." (Image Source)
"The Descent" is an amazingly intense movie and is a must-see for fans of horror cinema.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
RT Rating: 85%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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