For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Scream your last breath.
After a tragic accident, six friends reunite for a caving expedition. Their adventure soon goes horribly wrong when a collapse traps them deep underground and they find themselves pursued by bloodthirsty creatures. As their friendships deteriorate, they find themselves in a desperate struggle to survive the creatures and each other.
One of the most genuinely frightening & paranoia inducing films to come out in a long time, The Descent is an ingeniously crafted horror masterpiece that seamlessly intertwines its incredibly tense & cleverly paced story with inventive cinematography, tight editing, mesmerizing score & strong performances from its all-female cast to create an undeniably creepy atmosphere of unrelenting claustrophobia which eventually launches such an all-out assault on our senses that the ensuing events turn into nothing short of an escalating experience of nightmarish horror.
Inducing fear from its isolated look, grim tone & eerie mood rather than relying on typical jump scares, The Descent is the very definition of horror in its purest form and with its sinister plot & nerve-jangling adventure, easily qualifies as one…
Neil Marshall’s The Descent is a horror film that smartly plays on the primal fears of its audience as a group of thrill-seeking women embark on a caving expedition which becomes a literal descent into hell. Marshall allows the story to play out gradually as the expedition turns from a tensely staged battle of endurance to out and out survival when the unsuspecting gang come face to face with the cave’s original inhabitants.
The film begins with a jolt of an opening as Shauna Macdonald’s Sarah loses her family in a freak car accident. It is an oft-used device but Marshall employs it brilliantly whilst allowing the first half to build naturally as the audience gets to know the characters.…
The circumstances in which you watch a film influence your rating or experience a lot. The first time I watched this was in 2005 in a Sneak Preview. Neil Marshall was not a name firmly established among Dutch genre fans and even though I had seen Dog Soldiers, when I saw his name on the screen no bells were ringing. I sat in a theatre, not knowing what I was going to watch, surrounded by people as clueless as me. When the title appeared it didn't mean anything to me. Ususally, during a Sneak Preview there are murmurs of recognition when what we're going to watch is revealed. Here there was no recognition at all.
Slowly we were taken into…
The best films typically leave you with one or two reactions. Either you sit there gob smacked, dumbfounded by what has just hit your brain or you immediately attempt to figure out what it all means. Cleverly crafted films like The Descent never provide an easy answer, or reveal any one specific interpretation, throwing it out for the ravenous genre buffs to dissect and arrive at their own conclusions,
It's surprising that there aren't more horror films set in underground caverns and caves as they lend themselves perfectly toward the genre. For films working on a budget it removes so many issues and provides an instant atmosphere not easily found elsewhere. That all important tension and fear of what lurks…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Part of **Halloween Season 2012**.
I'm a big dude, and I get wedged into things easily. So the pure claustrophobia of a film set in dark caves sets me up for true horror. Plus, the filmmaker understands that the biggest scares are the ones we don't see. And this one is pretty damned scary.
These days, "horror" films tend to be about gore or stupid people doing stupid things. They don't frighten as much as tittilate, tease, and once in awhile make you jump. But though this picture has plenty of gore, its characters are for the most part not stupid. They do the best they can in a situation that is -- mostly -- not of their making. And…
Hailed as the best horror movie in the last decade.
So yea, I had my expectations.
I generally see monster movies falling into two categories:
1. The first half is creepy and it keeps you anticipating the monster. The second half reveals the monster but keeps you enthralled until the very end because the monster is still horrifying.
2. The first half is creepy. The second half reveals the creature and the movie plummets to mediocrity.
Unfortunately, this was the latter. The characters weren't all stupid idiots and I semi-cared about them. The movie really picks up when they are entering the caves with such a claustrophobic setting which I really appreciated. I don't know many horror movies that made…
Not as terrifying as I expected but sufficiently brutal and suffocating.
A horror which uses its sets and lighting effectively to give the audience a real sense of tension and dread. The nightmare situation is created brilliantly by the close and stressed action. The production design is top quality and each the monsters and cave seem real which adds to the horror of the situation.
If it's possible for a movie about evading mutant grotesqueries to be gorgeous, this movie is the one. Director Neil Marshall uses expressionistic lighting -- reds and greens in particular -- and nightmare logic to build tension and atmosphere in the caves of Appalachia.
A truly... er... 'horrifying' modern horror.
This remains 95% of a masterpiece. Marshall's efficiency in storytelling, and relationship building, is immaculate and duly provides the film with a tenseness that a less talented director could've totally written off. As well as that, his use of visual motif, matched with a fine central metaphor for depression, grounds the film's magnificently claustrophobic direction, allowing the eventual descent into hell to be as emotionally destructive and effective as it is viscerally effecting.
That being said, I still have some issue with the final third of the film. Although it follows through on the film's thematic implications, it suffers in the same way many horror films do towards the end, where, once the mystery is gone, the onslaught of destruction and violence becomes static and un-affecting.
An effective thriller with some goofy molemen.
Even though i have seen the poster for this movie, i never felt compelled to see it. The problem with a lot of horror movies lies after the reveal of the monster/evil where all suspense is lost and only action follows. This is one of the rearer movies where they still manage to keep the suspense after the reveal. I was also surprised by choice of characters, unlike other horror movies, where girls are just usually eye candy not including the 'smart one' this had a group of more realistic ladies. Anyway, not that bad.
A bloody great achievement in pure terror, Neil Marshall's British pulse-pounder The Descent is a terrifying journey into madness that will leave even the most hardened horror veterans shaken to their cores and loving every minute of it. Boldly sporting an all-female cast, the fright flick sidesteps genre stereotypes and throws this particularly gifted ensemble group through the darkest reaches of hell, where there's zero light and little chance for hope. The frights themselves range from nail-biting thrills to extreme blood-curdling shocks that escalate in pure ferocity as the viewer is trapped in an unrelenting exercise in fear. While his peers tend to concern themselves with continually ripping off David Fincher's flash and grime (à la Seven), here Marshall turns…
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