The Descent dir. by

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Rated :

When I first saw the trailer for this in the cinema I wasn’t going to go see. I haven’t gone to see a horror film in the cinema since Cabin Fever and that was shite. But then I found out that it was written and directed by Neil Marshall, responsible for dog soldiers, so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.


The cinema was packed, I’m not sure if everyone wanted to go see the film, or if it was just that The Wedding Crashers was sold out. Still, by the time the first few scenes had been shown the cinema was full, or very close to.

It doesn’t take long for the first deaths to occur, but they are due to a car crash, and serve to create the situation a year later, where the 6 women head off in search of a bit of adventure in the caves. There are also hints at tensions that might pop up later.

Most of the film isn’t actually horror at all. It is more claustrophobia as we realise that Juno has decided to be a little more adventurous than the others knew and the caving system they are exploring isn’t what they expected. The little flashes of movement, the background sounds all alert the viewer to the fact that there is something out there, but when the attack comes it is quite sudden and very bloody.

I do think, however, that the film showed up the crawler-gollum-type-things too early on. Everyone knows that if you can’t see the monster its more terrifying. And they had a pretty good excuse what with being in the dark of a cave system.

Overall I found that although there were a few jump-moments, and the audience did give a few scream, it isn’t really that sort of a scary movie. For me, the worst parts were the non-monster moments; being trapped in the cave, that leg break. Yes, the monster were gorey, and the violence had plenty of “ew-ness”.

I did like the sounds the gollums made, the clicks while hunting, and the hyena-type whoops and cat-screeches. But overall they weren’t as scary as they could have been.

Worth watching, if only for the swimming in blood, and the ending, but not as entertaining as Dog Soldiers. Still the creepiness factor, the atmosphere, all that works really well. AS do the character moments, of which there are more than you’d assume would be present in a horror flick.

EDIT (15-Aug-06)

This has recently been released in America, albeit with an edited ending. And there is a really intereting discussion about the film over on the scnners blog. Spoilers abound, so if you haven’t seen the film I’d wait before reading.

IMDb site | Empire review | Bloody-disgusting’s review | SFX’s review | Rogerebert.com

Post Author: Fence