Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Descent

This was one truly scary film. I knew most of what was going to happen beforehand since I'd read all the reviews a year prior when the flick was released overseas, but I didn't actually think the movie would pay off as much as it did since The Cave didn't exactly make paving the way for this movie easy due to it sucking so hard.

The movie is fast paced and rarely slows down to let the viewer breathe. There is just enough character development to make you give a crap about them, but not so much that the film slows down during those parts. Once the lovely ladies get into the cave the movie moves full steam ahead into making the viewer as uncomfortable as possible, by showing these chicks squeeze through extremely tight tunnels and using only the light that the characters are utilizing to see. It's a brilliant way to create tension and mood.
The acting is great across the board; you get a real feel for these ladies and grow to like them even though you know that they're going to die. The direction is minimalist at best due to the limited budget, and that's good since most of the big budget horror movies (like Pulse) end up being cookie cutter all the way. This flick tries to get away from convention and does it extremely well. There are plenty of surprises that were most welcome even though they involved something bad happening to a character or two (right after that first creature attack comes a twist that made me gasp).

The creatures are shown very little, kind of like how Spielberg hid the shark in Jaws, but when you manage to get a good look at them they are truly hideous. De-evolved humans who have adapted to life in total darkness are my best guess. But when they're on the hunt they're vicious little bastards. There are a number of assault scenes where the ladies must defend themselves from the creatures and they are shot in such a way that they are exciting as well as horrifying, the sound FX doing most of the work. And the end you all knew coming plays out in a great way that defies convention once again.
In the end this was a fantastic horror ditty that kicked my ass on all levels. It's in your face gory, it's got suspense and tension galore, it's got great characters and talented actresses playing them and it all just works. You owe it to yourself to check it out if you really want to be scared. Just make sure you see the uncut UK version. The ending is much better.

5 out of 5

p.s. Although I am a gore fan, I did think that the opening accident scene was in very bad taste. But that's just me.

*written 8/6/06

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