The Descent (2005) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
Over hyped? Most definitely. Still worth the time? Without question. It is easy to see the hype and think, 'I might pass this by'. Don't! It is still easily a taut and tense horror that surpasses quite a few movies of it's type.
I can see this movie times over and still adore it. Not just the darkest moments but the fragile relations between the group of friends. You can see the splinters and know the cracks are soon to appear but where it occurs is what makes the film work so well.
Storyline: After a tragedy occurs, six girls decide to embark on a daredevil caving holiday but when things take a bad turn and a rock blocks their only exit, they find themselves trapped underground. As they turn on each other for support, secrets rush to the service and friendships break down. Now hunted by a race of fearless, hungry predators, they must depend on themselves to survive the fight and horror on their own.
This movie does appeal to me and here's the odd thing, originally I could not stand it. I went to see this at the cinema when it first came to my attention, half way through I fell asleep. It seemed dull, derivative and lacklustre.
However when it came to DVD I brought it in the hope I had been wrong. They say some movies take a while to grow into, this for me is a classic example. As time grew on and I watched more of it, the more I grew to love what it did in terms of cinematic experience. A teaser of a movie that grows and really captures your heart.
Actresses of 'The Descent'
Shauna Macdonald (Sarah), let's face it, this girl has some balls about her! Her ability to alter the characteristics of whom she plays is the mark of a very intellectually minded girl. I loved the various stages of Sarah, from grief to quiet understanding and back to her bubbly self slowly, she really makes herself accessible. As quiet she is good but as the woman she becomes, assertive and bold, she ruled! I absolutely adore this woman!
Natalie Mendoza (Juno), I wanted to like her and to a point I did. But the crucial moment I stopped caring for her character was the moment she turns from a likeable person into more ego than anything. Wherever this was due to the actress is non determent, but the character was sweet until they became lost. Then all heart went. A sad development to Juno' character who had such potential.
For the rest:
Cinematography: This is an occasion when this particular area was key to the movie. Considering it was banded closely, working with a select few and in a closed environment, the cinematography is one of the finest details. Outside in the wilderness, around the Appalachian Mountains, the far reach of trees, blue watered streams and green bladed grounds. All sublime.
Then there's inside the caves. Darkness is the abated front until they light flares, then we see the inside structure. It is beautiful, to see what they achieved was beautiful. The crinkles in the rocks, the high steeps over lower ones, it all looked so effortlessly beautiful without needing to try.
Score: Air Lyndhurst Studios did a cracking job. It is low in tone, serving between intense and softness. The dull press delivers moody uncomprehending in the harsher scenes and when things go quiet, it takes on a delicate tone to match the scene. I cannot fault the effort put into this, just gorgeous.
Special/ Visual Effects: Admittedly I wish I had seen a little more of the creatures but understand the need to hide them in darkness. Too often a build up is given, then the payoff is not that amazing and you feel you have wasted time. In this they keep it a little mysterious and your mind must decide some of what the creatures are.
Nevertheless I do think they did a good job. The pool of blood, the ripping of necks, the pickaxe in the leg, all golden. It doesn't shirk on the gore and Neil Marshall knows when adequate gore is enough without being too extreme.
This brings to me to my next point. Neil Marshall.
He has the potential to be a fantastic director, this and Dog Soldiers are some of the most fun films I have seen, Doomsday whilst not wholly original is entertaining and with another practise he could be this generation's John Carpenter. He knows gore, he knows character building and storylines, he knows art. I think he could be fantastic and hope he continues to shock, the world would be empty without him to offer something.
Yes I hated this film, yes it did bore me but with given time. Without prejudice and anything standing in my path I finally started to see what this movie can and does offer, it is a great piece of entertainment and worth watching. If you don't like it? Hey, I felt the same. Some movies take time to understand and like, but in the end it is worth the ride and do you know why? Because these are the movies you will always remember, will always have a place in your heart for.
Intense, enjoyable romp. I recommend this to everyone and especially to those who loved Dog Soldiers.
Peace be with you all. Mwah.