THE DESCENT (2005) movie review

Descent, The (2005) d. Marshall, Neil (UK)

After a tragic accident, six friends (Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring and Nora-Jane Noone) reunite for a caving expedition. Their adventure soon goes horribly wrong when a collapse traps them deep underground and they find themselves pursued by bloodthirsty subterranean creatures.

While perhaps not the “second coming of horror” some enthusiasts made it out to be upon its original UK release (and a year later here in the States), it’s an undeniably well-made monster movie with strong female characters and Dog Soldiers writer/director Marshall demonstrates a great sense of creating mood in his sophomore effort. Plus, it may be the first underground horror film that really works, capitalizing on every claustrophobic opportunity.

However, I will say that I had major issues with the fact that our underground creatures, which operate by sense of hearing, like bats, apparently can’t hear people breathing, whimpering, moving around, etc. when they’re right on top of them? Also, their sense of smell isn’t utilized at all, which I found most puzzling.

Bottom line, I felt like our monsters should have been much more proficient in their cavernous domain, but overall the film is an absolute winner and one that heralded Marshall as a shining light on the horror horizon...a promise he has yet to deliver on since.


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