The Descent (2005)

descentIf you scare easily then you might not want to descend into that cave with those girls. It is pretty tense. Be warned. “The Descent” is a classic horror shocker from British director Neil Marshall, featuring an all girls group and their love for extreme sports, aka “No risk no fun”.

It centers on two of the women, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) and Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza), in a caving expedition that goes all wrong, the rest is just – as in all horror flicks – extras and their fate is clear from the beginning.

The movie starts slow and builds on the traumatizing car accident in which Sarah loses her husband Paul and daughter Jessica. One year later her five friends organize a caving expedition to help her get back to her old self. Sarah is still on heavy medication and has not overcome her loss. The six girls set out to explore a cave somewhere in the Appalachian mountains and that is where the movie unfolds its menacing claws and grabs you right at your throat and never lets go all through until the end.

It’s dark, it’s intense and you feel like you squeeze through these tunnels yourself, getting stuck any moment with the rocks collapsing on top of you. If that weren’t enough, you start seeing pale human like creatures that seem to live down there in that cave, predators. They hunt you. They eat you alive.

There are plenty of gory scenes and there are plenty of scenes that make you wince and depending on how easy you scare there are plenty of scenes that make you jump. Watching this movie on a cold dark night together with your girlfriend, maybe with a little storm outside, rattling at the window shutters should provide you with the perfect thrill. Be warned, covering your eyes is not enough. The sound leaves little room for speculation and while some may think that a group of six women will result in helpless screaming and running I can assure you this is not the case. There is screaming a plenty but then again you would scream, too. Besides, Juno is one hell of a fighter and when she kills she does it with a ferociousness that is beyond comparison. She makes Rambo look like a school boy – let alone the fact that she simply looks hot – something I cannot attribute to Rambo.

You can pretty much picture out the whole movie and it’s not that hard to predict what will happen in that cave. It’s pretty straightforward and its predictability is possibly the movie’s greatest drawback. Still, it’s one hell of a descent into your darkest fears, predictably so or not. Who will survive? Will anyone survive? You will need to watch until the end to find out. I do not want to spoil anything here but it does have a very fitting ending, at least that’s what I think. Just one tip, watch out for “Love each day”.

The soundtrack just adds to aforementioned tension and ever present menace. The lighting and the different colors are very effective and create an overall atmosphere of impending doom. Again, you will get no rest once you descend into that cave. If you are not too scared you will also have fun spotting all the references to classics like “Carrie” and “The Time Machine“. Keep an eye out for those!

As this is a British production you can expect the actors to speak in rather thick dialects at times, e.g. there’s one Irish girl which might be hard to understand. It has not yet been released in the States at this time but is already out on DVD here in Europe and it’s an 18+ release, too. You can buy the 2 disc version of The Descent with DTS sound over at amazon.co.uk (this is a Region 2 DVD and may not play on Region 1 DVD players). A must have for all horror fans.

Forget “The Cave” and take the descent into the dark. You will be scared. Promise.
7/10

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