The Descent (2005) Review
Written by: Chad Langen
Thousands of phobias have been categorized to this day. Whether it be arachnophobia or hydrophobia, everyone has at least one. One of my worst phobias is claustrophobia which is the fear of being in small areas and if you've seen Lions Gate's The Descent then you should know exactly what I'm talking about. For the most part, I like to think I'm an honest individual. So I'm going to display my honesty by hereby stating that the true reason I found myself sitting in the theater on August 4, 2006 was to be one of the first to experience the trailer for Lions Gate's upcoming horror flick Saw 3. I know what you must be thinking. Is this guy serious? Who in their right mind would pay seven dollars to see a two minute preview? Well if you're a die hard horror fan like myself, then you'll know my intentions behind this doing. Getting back on track, The Descent begins with a devastating automobile accident in which a young woman, Sarah, finds herself in the hospital shortly after.
She awakens from a horrid nightmare and later discovers that her husband and daughter were killed in the accident. Fast forward a year and we find a group of young women who have set out to explore an unknown cave. Once there, they run into a dilemma when their exit is blocked by falling rocks. And if matters couldn't get any worse, they soon fall prey to a race of humanoid creatures who have adapted perfectly to the darkness. If there's one thing Lions Gate is good at it's the mere fact they certainly know how to hype a film. A perfect example is Open Water. This film didn't appeal to me at all when I first saw the trailer, however, after all the hype the film was given through various online communities, I found myself instantly sucked in. Though the film had it's share of spooks, it was nothing to loose my hair over. With The Descent, however, now this is a film that actually lived up to the hype. What struck me as different with the film was that almost the entire cast consists of females.
Sure you would think this would effect the film on a negative level, but honestly, what's better than watching a group of ridiculously attractive women battle cave dwelling monsters? This brings me to my next point, however, first I'd like to declare beforehand that I never got around to seeing Sony's The Cave. Before I dare step foot into a movie theater I almost always compare opinions on the film I'm about to view. With The Cave, the negative feedback seemed to outweigh the positive thus it was instantly out of the picture. Now this doesn't go to say that I couldn't describe the entire film from beginning to end, because lets face it, we're not lying when we say that this is a small world and just as word of mouth spreads about something good, it does the same for bad. What I'm trying to get across and probably could have done without the excess description is that The Cave and The Descent are two completely different films no matter how similar their premises may be.
The biggest difference is that one was commercialized to the point that is was drained of any cinematic value, while the other is easily the best horror flick of the summer and possibly of the year (until Saw 3 that is). The gore presented throughout the film is unbelievably realistic and quite unsettling at times, but I never once looked away from the screen. I was most impressed by the creature effects. The predators in the film were not only frightening, but original in the sense that they portrayed several characteristic as, we, humans. The only film I recall doing anything moderately similar was Mimic which was released way back in '97. I had few problems with the film as a whole. Actually, the only problem I can remember is the poor execution given off at the end of the film. Fortunately, it's no High Tension by any means, but it was still rather disappointing to have such a crummy ending attached to such a brilliantly constructed film. I suppose it wouldn't be fair for me to give away any details regarding the film's climax, but I'm telling beforehand not to expect much. As I stated before, The Descent is the must see horror flick of the summer. It's got everything a horror film could ask for including a nice line up of previews before the film starts, an excellent story, over-the-top gore, and extremely hot women. What more could you ask for from a flick?