The Descent

The Descent ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I have just one thing I'd really like to say, and I think if you bear with me here, you'll find some common ground. Here goes.




Jaysus what a feckin' terrifoiying moovie!

(That's my attempt at a Scottish accent but every word is probably from a different country's pronunciation)

I feel like I was injected with that adrenaline shot to the heart from Pulp Fiction, I mean, my armpits are sweating. 

Fuck this movie, man. For being so damn good at what it is: horror. Horror has a face but I don't want to make a friend of it, no Mister Kurtz, no I do not. 

Credits go to Neil Marshall for writing and directing, and all the actresses, but most of all: Simon Bowles for designing the layout of the caves and Rod Vass for building the sets to the design specifications.

If the caves didn't come across to the viewers as authentic then the whole movie would've fallen apart, and everyone involved in creating these extremely lifelike and terrifying sets did a tremendous job. I honestly thought they were filming in a real cave at first but eventually I realized that would've been way too stupid and dangerous. 

I was thinking, it is possible to read the events of this movie on a metaphorical level. It could of course actually be happening, but as the movie goes on it gets more surreal and demented, like someone going insane or mining deeper into the circles of hell. 

I love the movie as it is but I can't help but wonder what the movie would've become if the cave dwellers never showed up. The movie was plenty scary with the girls simply crawling through impossibly tight passageways or encountering sheer drops. 

What we have is still excellent, though, with a movie that shows us both how heart stopping nature itself can be, preying on our intrinsic fear of claustrophobia and darkness, and then later adding in the extra bonus of shattered friendships and being forced to fight for your life against disgusting, slimy beasts. Do you have the survival instinct or not? 

The second half reminded me a lot of The Thing, with characters constantly lighting flares and learning to deal with an unknown threat in a harsh environment with extreme prejudice. In that movie it was all men; here it is all women. And trust and believe, the women kick every square inch as much ass as the men can. There were some absolutely brutal kills in this. At a certain point I stopped being scared and was shit talking the monsters to bring it on and come get some more. The slow pulsating of the score seemed like an homage to The Thing as well.

I also got major Uncharted vibes. Naughty Dog were probably in all honesty inspired by this movie. 

I also want to believe that the "emerging from the blood pond" scene was an homage to Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. But to be fair whenever there's a scene with someone's head emerging from a liquid I think of Coppola's classic. 

Depending on which cut of the movie you saw, the US or the UK version, you have two different endings. They change the entire movie. One of them is extremely nihilistic and pitch black, and the other is even more bleak and dreadful. There is no happy ending here, but make sure you know whether or not you have missed something. 

Overall, this is everything I want from a horror movie and more. Thrills, chills, and spills. Personal drama that becomes ensconced within a greater threat. Letting the atmosphere do the talking. Believable decision making.

You don't think perfectly in a crisis.
If there's one thing I hate that armchair critics say, it's "The characters made dumb decisions."

Okay, bubba, let's put you in the same scenario. I'm sure your inner Spock would come out and you'd calmly and logically figure a way out of everything without incurring any injuries or snags. Cause that's how life works, right? Nah, if I was a betting man I'd say you'd be initiating a Code Brown a few minutes in. Feck awf.

(P.S. - Juno was every bit as much of a badass as Sarah. Even despite the multiple fuckups Juno had; getting them stuck in an unmapped cave in the first place, cheating with her friends husband - she still shone through for me and gained my respect for being such a survivor.)

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