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The Descent

March 28, 2010

The Descent

The Descent

This is one of my favorite recent horror films.  Neil Marshall is one of the up and comers in terms of directing and in terms of horror he is also there.  The Descent is a quickly paced psychological thriller and is very open in how you read the ending.

The story is of a group of ladies who go out on spelunking missions every few years.  Things go wrong the year or two before and the main characters husband and daughter had died.  They go off into a cave system in the eastern United States and become trapped in a cave in.  While they are underground, a strange breed of predators starts picking them off as they try and find their way out.  It is made more difficult because they should have had their spelunking listed with the park, but one of the ladies had lied about the caves in which they were going.  The one thing that I will say for sure is that you need to watch the directors cut.  If you watch the US version, it just a typical horror film, but the directors cut is much of a psychological film and might take a viewing or two in terms of getting the subtle main twist.

The acting is what you would expect for a horror film.  All of the actresses are relatively no name actresses and there really aren’t any big actors period or many male actors to speak of in the film.  They play some of the monsters, but all the monsters look like monsters, and aren’t nearly as cheesy as most horror movie monsters.  Shauna Macdonald is a solid lead, but the main point of most of the actresses is to be attractive, which is normal for a horror film.  And the acting doesn’t need to be all that great as it isn’t a film that needs to be strongly interpersonal until you come to realize the twist.

Visually it is a nice film.  It basically takes place in a cave the whole time, and that works really well.  The best aspect for a lot of horror films is the confined space in which they use.  It is darkly lit and the tiny little amount of space that they use just makes the horror aspect so much more intense.  As you can sort of tell, there is a lot of red coloring use in the film.  Which isn’t typical for a horror film which is generally much more on the blue end of things.  This is just a whole lot stronger this way because while it does go in many ways that are typical horror films, the visual aspect is so much stronger.

This isn’t a film that everyone will love.  It is purely a horror film and people who don’t like horror films and the psychological aspect won’t like this film.  It is a well done horror film and Neil Marshall does a great job making this film.  It isn’t my favorite of his films, that would be Dog Soldiers, but it is still very entertaining and creepier then most horror films without becoming something that is purely about gore.  Also, if you are claustrophobic, this film might not be for you.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: B

Overall Grade: B+

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