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The Descent: Brilliant Claustrophobic Horror Film

Reviewing: Celador Films The Descent  |  Rating:
zergfood By zergfood on
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The Descent is supposed to be a horror movie. And it is brilliant at that. Unlike crappy Hollywood gorefests that have infected the horror genre, this movie really delivers the scare/frightening factor rather than just make those of you weak-of-heart want to puke as in gorefests (how is that even horror or frightening anyway?).

The Descent is directed by Neil Marshall, the guy behind Dog Soldiers. I tell you this guy really know the definition of horror, which I have to tell the Hollywood crackpots, is NOT supposed to make you sick of what you see or disgusted. This really brings you a sense of uneasiness at worst if you are really a tough person like me who doesn't get frightened easily.

The movie is about a cave expedition by an all-female cast gone wrong. Mind you, it begins actually with an accident where Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) loses her husband and daughter because he didn't pay attention. As it turns out, she is going to be haunted by that for the rest of her life -- or at least the movie anyway.

Fast forward 1 year and she is invited, along with all her female friends (they are part of an experienced adventurer group or something) to join them in a new expedition, which is led by the bold Juno (Natalie Mendoza). Skipping the greeting part which is uninteresting here we get to the cave, which they go into of course (who wouldn't know?).

Naturally something must go wrong and it doesn't take that much until they become trapped with no way back, their only way being forward. I have to note that this movie is much better at building suspense than a generic american movie. The "cave monsters" don't even appear until more than halfway through, before that you really get the sense of claustrophobia. This is especially cool because it makes you stack these two "problems" up, which makes you feel more uneasy. It does a REALLY good job at painting the feeling in a cave even without those monsters I would still give it a high score for the somewhat horror factor it has.

I have to admit, the acting seems very good, but they also start to freak out -- by that I don't mean just scream. If you are looking for crappy screams like in Hollywood movies you won't find it here, and I really have to congratulate the crew for avoiding that stupid stereotype so common in horror movies. On the other hand, they start to have doubts about each other and even let one another die and/or betray themselves, but I've said enough.

The ending seems a bit... awkard. It leaves you a bit confused, not surprisingly there have been people on the internet suggesting "interpretations" but none have been confirmed officially. It might make you think it was all a dream, but I doubt it since the monster sounds at the end have a reason to be there (no point if it was a dream). Anyway I'll leave it to you to decide and enjoy this part.


The Descent is a highly enjoyable really horror movie that will make even the toughest of you feel a bit uneasy, if not frightened (if it doesn't you have lost all of your humanity :P, ok joking). Anyway it does have a bit of gore, but not exaggerated and most definitely not a crappy gorefest. It really knows how to build the atmosphere gradually. If you are looking for slash gorefest flicks then this won't appeal to you -- for the others who are into horror, rather than getting disgusted, this is worth a watch. Definitely.