The Descent (2006)
Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Producer: Christian Colson
Date Released: August 4, 2006
Shauna Macdonald as Sarah Carter
Natalie Mendoza as Juno Kaplan
Alex Reid as Elizabeth “Beth” O’Brien
MyAnna Buring as Samantha “Sam” Vernet
Saskia Mulder as Rebecca Vernet
Nora-Jane Noone as Holly Mills
Oliver Milburn as Paul Carter
Molly Kayll as Jessica Carter
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The film follows this group of women who tried to venture to explore a cave in Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is undoubtedly the central character. She is attempting to recover from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter in a car accident a year ago. She hopes this year’s adventure can help her put the tragedy behind her. However, Juno’s (Natalie Mendoza) decisions about where and how the spelunkers will do their spelunking (caving) might put any hopes of Sarah’s recovery on hold. As they descend, they are taken deep below the Earth’s surface in the claustrophobic confines of oozing caves and tight-fitting passages. Tension comes not only in the form of the physical environs but also in real human feelings of resentment, jealousy, betrayal and even that age-old human trait that has done more for the survival of the fittest than anything else — looking out for number one.
The caving expedition then goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
The film has a lot of blood and guts all throughout its running time. There are a lot of bone cracking sound and screaming as the women fight for their lives. As shown in the poster for the movie, a woman falls in a pit of blood. When she surfaces, her whole body is soaked in blood. There is a lot of flesh tearing and creatures feeding in a very bloody and gory fashion. The cave itself exhibits its own set of fears: it’s dark, drowning, claustrophobic. It is a desperate fight for survival. There is no shortage of dead bodies and feral creatures.
The Grave Review
Directed, written and edited by Neil Marshall (who also directed Dog Soldiers and Doomsday), The Descent (2006) involves six women with real emotional issues which creates a mounting tension in an unwelcoming environment. As such, the film is expected to provide a mix of emotional and physical endurance as they slowly descent into the depths of the cave as well as dealing with their own state of mind. There were the chaotic fight scenes and the tense discussions between the characters, absolutely frantic and desperate to decide how to get out of the disastrous predicament. What makes it terrifying is that the horror is believable which exudes a certain degree of authenticity.
The Descent (2006) focuses purely on the fear of the cave itself, full of its dark crevices, shadowy corners and unsteady surfaces. It proves that darkness itself can have a strange effect on a person, and this is well explored as well as the typical horror elements.
The film makers introduce a gradual pacing in and it has really works wonders at making the viewer’s get absorbed in its own realm. Although it is not until 45 minutes into the film that there’s even a glimpse of a crawler, that suspicion is always present, that something is lurking in the corner.
And then things really start to kick off with the arrival of the strange mutant creatures, perfectly adapted to living in the caves and hungry for human flesh. Apparently, the cast members did not actually get to see what the crawlers looked like until they filmed that first encounter, resulting in genuine fear and screaming from the women. This is yet another example of how the realism of the film really enhances the viewing experience.
However, the weakness of The Descent was the failure of the writer to explain the evolution of the creature. But the crawlers are very feral, very primal species living underground, more human than alien; this gives real humans permission to mutilate them without seeming too disgusting to be sympathetic.
The Descent (2006) is a crafty horror flick which incorporates a variety of horror aspects such as fear, gore, blood, and a lot of jump scares.
For the above mentioned reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Descent (2006) three graves out of five graves.
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