The Descent

I went to see The Descent last week despite knowing absolutely nothing about the film. I’d never seen a trailer or even a poster, but strong critical response convinced me to go.

The Descent is about a group of thrill-seeking women who decide to go spelunking in a remote cave. They get pretty deep into the cave before they realize how dangerous their situation is. The tension is high and unrelenting, and then the monsters come out.

What’s nice about this film is that it doesn’t waste any time whatsoever on superfluous scenes. The script is concise and direct: only the necessary scenes are included. This is a “pop out of the dark” movie, and after a while there is a definite rhythm to each scare event, but the film never becomes trite and it never really loses its ability to startle you. The characters are developed just enough to make the interactions between them important, and the monsters are not dwelt upon for longer than necessary.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a pop-out movie that is this effective. Though there are a huge number of films in this genre, very few are successful (Alien is probably the best of the bunch). The Descent is tight, simple, and expertly constructed, and I found it much more effective than I was expecting.

6 thoughts on “The Descent

  1. I like the UK ending of The Descent much better than the ending for American audiences. Too bad they felt the need to provide a “happier” ending for us Yanks. Uhg!

  2. ***SPOILERS**** The UK ending is the one where the main girl imagines she escapes but then realises she’s gone nuts. The last shots are just of her and her dead child (now a ghost…or more obviously part of her madness) as the light goes out.

    Nope. Not a happy ending at all.
    *** END SPOILERS ***

  3. Did you think that the monsters seemed anything like the dero from Marebito Chris? I saw a lot of similaties; it was as if the monsters from The Descent where just how they might have looked in Marebito if they had better special effects and make-up. (Discounting that one female one in the bone pit of course, the female dero looked almost normal)

  4. Err, it’s better then the American version. However, the American version ends with her waking up and the movie literally ending?

    So did the monsters kill her?

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