Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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.


  1. The movie scared the crap out of me, and then that ending came up and it was a bit too stupid to believe in. Yet, I was thrilled and frightened at the same time so good job on this movie's part. Nice review.


    Which ending, Dan? The American one (jump scare in the car) or the original UK (in the cave round the fire seeing the vision). Living in the States, I first saw the US version - which is basically just shutting off the movie early - and was pretty bummed out by what felt like the usual "one last jump scare." But then when I saw the rest of the movie, I quite enjoyed the fact that it (the escape) was all a fantasy.