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.
Neil Marshall's intoxicating claustrophobic horrific tale of a group of friends who pick the wrong caves to explore. White water fun. A wreck of a car wreck. Hospital scenes are usually sad. Girls enjoy beer too. Silly pajamas. Sarah's life is a "Hell on Earth" type of life with all the shit that happens to her at the beginning of the film. It's kinda ironic how her "own personal Hell" turns into so much more as the descent into the caves begin. Pictures are used to capture memories. Have you ever tried writing 1000 words for a picture? Try it one day. It's fun. Juno knows directions. A light on your helmet helps you see in the dark. Spooky bats.…
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.…
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…
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 Descent is absolutely impeccable. Dread is instant, continuous, and ever-present. With an impressively strong cast, Neil Marshall amps up the character right alongside the scares, keeping a brilliant balance between wondrous development and and frightful terror. I haven't seen anything so beautifully claustrophobic, enclosing the frame with suffocating amounts of darkness, surrounding the characters with toxic hopelessness and feverish pain.
Neil Marshall's direction is a roller-coaster in celluloid form, slowly climbing to the absolute limit before dropping into a state of horrific chaos and godlike revenge. It's as if the film itself goes back in time, with the primal instincts and the tribal paintings releasing a built-up rage deep within the collective unconscious. The direction is simply transfixing.…
"Love each day."
I'm back from my brief vacation, thankfully none of which involved free climbing in uncharted cave systems. It did involve a house in the woods though, so I decided the only proper way to kick off my free time was—of course—to attempt to shock myself into submission. How else am I supposed to have fun away from civilization?
I'm pleased to have survived my outing in the wilderness (there was really quite little risk of injury) to report that The Descent is a fantastically fun and quite exceptional horror film. It earns major Cool Points in a couple departments: it's a fairly low budget release (£3.5m) which never feels held back by its production, and it features…
cave exploring is so ugly
I picked the second feature for my daughter and I's movie night. I think this is one of the best horror films of the 2000's. Saw it in a theater and it kept me on the edge of my seat. My daughter ended up really liking it as well.
There are parts where you wish Mr. Marshall had more money to spend on the film, but damn if it isn't well expertly crafted and thought out (must watch the international cut).
I'll keep myself away from caves for the rest of my existence.
The last minutes are unforgettable, what a fantastic score.
A little lower rating this time and that's just partly due to some bad composting shots that are starting to show their age/budget and noting the dialogue being a bit more flatter than i remember. But I still consider this that last great horror movie.
I also thoroughly enjoy its dual horror aspects. First half is just being scared of the dark and confined nature of a cave. Second half gives you a creature feature. Probably make a good triple feature with Jeepers Creepers and From Dusk Until Dawn in terms of that dual story/theme/atmosphere/tone/genre? structure.
Neil Marshall is like the Tobe Hooper for my generation. Their talents were able to create one singular masterpiece (in Hooper's case it was the incomparable Texas Chainsaw Massacre) only to spend the rest of their careers wallowing in mediocrity or as a fair-to-middling directors for hire. I'm not sure what alchemy was at work here, but for one film, Marshall was able to turn lead into gold.
Solid horror flick that will make you jump in fright. Natalie Mendoza is muy beuno. The cave dwelling creatures are scary. But the movie just takes too darn long to get interesting. A full fifty minutes into a 100-minute film and the girls haven't even reached the cave.
Still, worth checking out if you're into the horror genre.
Definitely earned it's spot on the best horror movies of 2000-2015 list. Very atmospherice, surprisingly creepy but with an unnecessary heavy handed addition to the plot in the third act. Sometimes less is more.
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…