The Descent movie review - Aussieboyreviews
IS THE CLAUSTROPHOBIA OF THE DESCENT WHERE ALL THE TENSION CENTRES?
It’s where most of the relentless tension roots, making it quite literally the scariest film in the Earth. The Descent is full of gore, jump-scares, claustrophobic tension and scary cave creatures.
An expedition into a cave goes horribly wrong when six women get trapped inside and are hunted down by strange underground predators.
Director: Neil Marshall
Cast: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora-Jane Noone, MyAnna Buring
Writer: Neil Marshall
Release Date (Australia): 27 July 2006
Runtime: 99 minutes/1h 39m
Genre: Horror, Adventure, Thriller
CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)
The film contains strong horror themes and a sustained sense of peril, including depictions of women being attacked by a humanoid monster whilst trapped inside a cave. The film also contains a depiction of a car accident and references to grief.
The film contains gory depictions of women being attacked and eaten by humanoid monsters whilst trapped inside a cave, as well as depictions of stabbings, a woman’s broken leg and other injuries that are accompanied by blood detail.
The film contains use of the words “f**k”, “bitch”, “bastard”, “ass” and “piss”.
Two women are depicted smoking marijuana.
The film contains a crude verbal reference to “giving a lemon an orgasm”.
R (for strong violence/gore and language)
Aussie boy's thoughts
The claustrophobic aspect alone is downright terrifying and actually makes this horror movie pretty nauseating by itself, which makes the fact that there’s cave monsters feel like an unneeded opportunity that was forced for a more interesting storyline. This is the main flaw, that The Descent doesn’t trust in its very effective execution of the crumbling cave setting and therefore needs a seperate antagonist that isn’t the natural collapsing of the cave.
Six women whose expedition into a cave goes horribly wrong when they get trapped inside and are eventually hunted down by strange underground predators. Talking about the layout, the opening section of the film establishes these women as a sort-of-dumb friendship group united by thrill-seeking. So it sort of begins as a slow-going female buddy comedy until they enter the cave and eventually become trapped, which is where we as the audience start to feel the looming threat of claustrophobia. It’s scary to know that situations like this occur in real life, where people are trapped, there’s no way out and their lives are basically over. But once these hungry creatures do come into the story, the claustrophobic atmosphere is half put to the side while the women must fight to protect themselves from these vicious monsters.
Despite an abundance of typical horror movie flaws, we’ll start by talking about where the source of fear in The Descent comes from; the claustrophobic setting within a dark cave. Thanks to the solid acting skills portrayed by these actresses in front of a camera that’s being moved, positioned and handled by a clear expert, The Descent makes you feel like you’re cramped in this tight space alongside its characters, despite that you can (hopefully in most instances) literally just walk out of the room you’re watching the movie in. This is not a horror movie for those who don’t want to feel trapped in a confined area, even though they aren’t.
The claustrophobic terror is nailed on point, but when the cave monsters become the main focus, it’s like some of the weight is lifted up off your shoulders and you can just enjoy some gory kills. Once they become involved, we are constantly seeing these humanoid creatures’ full bodies and faces. Neil Marshall could’ve taken tips from movie like The Blair Witch Project for the creatures to remain unseen and implied, and therefore even scarier, or for their sightings to be as infrequent as the moments we see the alien in the 1979 sci-fi/horror masterpiece Alien. This is a big weakness that the film just didn’t dodge. The jump-scares also become an issue when it’s just the friends sneaking up behind each other, and they’re always predictable because they occur during silent sequences. You also need to pick an official ending if you want to leave the audience satisfied, but that’s not to say that The Descent isn’t an incredibly-made film worth experiencing once.
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