The Descent (2005) Review

The Descent Just as I was finishing up the review for the The Descent: Part 2, I thought that it would be good to link the article to our review of the first film.
Then I realised that we didn’t have one!
Feeling shocked and confused, I went ahead and started to type one up.

After Sarah loses her husband and daughter in a car crash, she manages to cope with the grief by having the support of a network of great girlfriends. This group of mates (Sarah included) are adrenaline junkies. And when Juno, one of the friends who abandoned Sarah in her time of need, returns to the UK, they feel that the best way to bond is to find a big hole in the ground and explore it.
Juno, being the biggest thrill-seeker out of the bunch, finds an unchartered cave to ‘discover’, the problem being of course, that no-one has any idea if there is a route through it, or how dangerous it is.

But they’re a feisty lot, and head on into the darkness to do some exploring. For most it’s an adventure, but for Sarah and her closest buddies, it’s a kind of therapy for her; making her confront her fears and learn to move on with her life.

Unfortunately for them, they aren’t the only ones down in this mysterious maze of tunnels. There seems to be some kind of primitive human-like creatures down there who are aggressive carnivores – and who wouldn’t say know to a bit of human meat.
Although these ‘monsters’ can’t see very well, they are perfectly adapted for life underground, and start to hunt the group of women. What follows is a pretty damn terrifying experience for the pot-holers and the audience alike!

You can see why The Descent had such a good reception. It has many great qualities.
It’s unassuming, simple, and generally shot to perfection. From the sweeping Shining-esque’ aerial forest shots to the dark confined spaces, everything is filmed in such a way that you’d think that The Descent was a huge budget movie, although that’s not the case.
The cast are unfamiliar, but all faultless, and the storyline has a great balance of formula and unpredictability.

In the caves, along with the shocks, the director really manages to give the audience that sense of desperation and impending doom. This is one of those films that really does involve you. One of those that makes it hard for you to stand up and take a toilet break. Know what I mean?

I watched Saw V the other day and found myself quite detached from the victims in it – I didn’t care whether they survived. The Descent is the opposite. No matter how silly the members of this group are, you still want them all to make it.
It’s gory, without being too much; the creatures are scary, not invincible; and the girls are brave and stupid, but believably so.

The Descent Horror film

The best thing for me about The Descent is that it ducked under my radar. It’s always nice to find a film that you have missed, and be able to enjoy it without the hype that usually lingers during release.
If, like me, you missed The Descent when it came out, go and hire/buy it today. Have a nice relaxed Friday night, and take a journey into the dark dank depths. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

Oh, until the very end, which is a bit weird. But watch The Descent: Part 2 before you worry about that too much.

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Additional film information: The Descent (2005)

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