Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Descent

The Descent (2005)

Written and Directed by: Neil Marshall
Starring: Shauna MacDonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Molly Kayll, Oliver Milburn

Okay, so a bunch of women (one of whom recently lost her husband and daughter in a hideous car accident) go on a caving expedition in the Appalachian Mountains (bad idea. That's pretty much asking to get attacked by scary rednecks). Whilst down in the cave, a tunnel collapses and they all get stuck without much in the way of food or water. That's a pretty good set up for a psychological thriller a la Blair Witch but no! There's this nasty race of flesh-eating goblins living down there who just go crazy when these chicks get down there. So no rednecks...

The movie felt pretty much like The Cave, but set in America and without any men. I liked that. There was one guy, but he gets a massive spike through his head in the first ten minutes. It was nice and claustrophobic, and scary enough.

It was better than The Cave, too, but the monsters weren't as cool. I didn't like them too much. They made more sense than the Cave monsters, but still not a lot.

Anyway, there were a couple of good, clean scares in the movie ('couple' being the operative word - one when a goblin pops up unexpectedly behind a lady, one when the woman sees some really nasty thing out of a J-Horror movie in her car), and the ending was pretty bogus.

Again, bogus being the operative word - the main character thinks she's escaped the evil cave and all its horrors only to find herself up Owl Creek without a paddle.

They did a pretty good job of scrambling the formula, in other words, you have a pretty good idea of who's going to die and in what order (a couple of the faceless fodder characters, then the bitch, then the main character's friend, then maybe a toss-up between the emotionally disturbed lady and the plucky, adrenaline loving youngest member of the expedition), but they change it for my benefit.

And may I stress the point that there aren't any men in it? That was great! Of course, there were men in The Cave, and Alien and The Thing and a few people get out okay (well, like, one for each of those movies). The emotionally disturbed woman in this movie turns into a sort of Ripley by the end, now that I'm on THAT topic.

I guess The Descent is probably a metaphor for her descent into animal like barbarity or something.

Anyway, this movie wasn't too great, but I liked the blooper reel.


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