Descent, The

2005 · Lionsgate / Celador Films
Descent, The — Movie Review by Karthik
7 out of 10
Directing Credits
Neil Marshall
Writing Credits
Written by Neil Marshall
Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone

The Review

Six women go on an adventure trip to explore the Boreham caves.  The expedition seems relatively low-risk, or so they think... before you know it, things start going wrong.  Two miles underground, the women face danger from the natural environment first, and gradually realise that they are not the only ones in the caverns — there are also carnivorous underground creatures (referred to in the credits as "crawlers") present!  Will the women survive The Descent?

An engaging horror film from UK writer-director Neil Marshall, The Descent is an underground take on Alien.  The acting and characterisation is good, which adds to the tension of the film, when the women are under attack.  Speaking of tension, there are some very well set-up shots (the first close-up appearance of a crawler does have a punch to it!), and the moody music score only complements this.  Most of the film is set underground, so lighting is used to great effect to create scares as well as some beautiful looking scenes.  There is some great photography here.  The film also contains a good amount of blood and gore to satisfy horror fans!

On the negative side of things, some character twists towards the end didn't seem too convincing.  More than this though, what detracted from the experience was an inconsistency in the behaviour of the creatures, in respect to their reaction to the environment.  (I've described this in a bit more detail in the "Other Notes" section, as it contains minor spoilers.)

Faults aside, this is still a well-made film that is worth a watch.

Other Notes

The following section contains spoilers, so don't read it if you haven't seen the film!

Spoiler Alert!

  • The crawlers are supposed to be perfectly evolved to live underground, hence they're blind and capture their prey through using their other senses.  However, there are scenes where the women are holding makeshift torches (a piece of bone with fire lit at one end), and stay extremely still to avoid detection by the crawlers.  To me, it's hard to believe that the heat from the fire wouldn't have any effect on the crawlers.
  • The UK and US cuts of the film differ in the way they end.  The original ending (the UK one) features the character Sarah discovering a way out of the cave and driving away in a car, and stopping after a while.  She sees the ghost of Juno inside, and then wakes up — realising that this "escape" was a dream, and that she is still very much trapped in the cave.  The US release of the film eliminates this final bit, and cuts to the credits after Sarah sees Juno in the car.

End Spoilers

More Details

Running Time: 99 minutes | Country: UK | Genre: Horror

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 17 Dec 06
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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