Friday, October 18, 2013

The Descent (2005)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall

Composer: David Julyan

Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Face Your Deepest Fear

Plot: A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.


Last night I watched this for the second and final time.  The first time, years ago, I had issues with this which left me disappointed, especially since this film was on most everyone's top horror movies of the 2000s.  Let's dig into it.  Sarah goes through the trauma at the start of the film of losing her husband and child in an auto accident.  They touch on this at times in the film as if it's going to be a major factor in the movie.  I suppose it helps us get inside her head for the ending but that whole subplot isn't all that necessary.  I got the feeling that Sarah could have 'lost it' without having the emotional fucked-up-ed-ness of losing her family a year prior.  Then you've got the subplot that Sarah suspects Juno was having an affair with her husband.  That's completely unnecessary.  I tried to figure out why it's in the picture but no matter what scenario I came up with her behavior can be explained in several ways, one of which is that she's just a selfish bitch.  Removing these two subplots would free up the movie of some clutter, leaving us with 5 gals trying to survive as they struggle to find a way out.

Remember the scene shortly after entering the cave when that small tunnel collapsed? That was brilliantly handled.  I was genuinely concerned for them.  It was an effective scene.  Now, are the creatures necessary?  This could have been an excellent movie with or without them.  I could go either way.  I would have preferred a straight up survival horror film with the real life perils of being lost in a cave, trying to find a way out but having the sightless creatures could have worked if they hadn't been so easy to deceive and hide from.  These things live underground.  They're like bats in that they have a heightened sense of hearing like sonar.  It's remarkable that these gals were able to be inches away from them and not be discovered.  Of course the movie has to do this because otherwise it'd be a hell of a lot shorter.  They'd be dead within minutes and you'd be wondering "what the fuck?" as you walked out of the theater having barely touched your popcorn.  Instead, I'm wondering WTF as I try to like this picture but the rules push my suspension of disbelief past the breaking point. 

I could keep going but I don't want to waste much more time on this one.  I've been in a few caves before and there are certain rules you must adhere to.  Taking extra batteries and lights is a must.  These gals didn't do that. Not only that, they don't conserve their lights by having one person use theirs while the others conserve.  I know I'm getting nit picky now but it's dumb shit like this that can take me out of a picture.  This film had the potential of being an incredible, thrilling experience. I can't recommend it and that puts me in the minority since the general consensus is this is a great horror film.  Being trapped in a cave is such a great setting for fright but it needs logic to work.  There's a better movie out there called THE CAVE (2005).  Check it out.

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