Remember the Hellboy reboot from 2019 that everyone hated? Yeah, the director for that film, Neil Marshall, also directed this movie back in 2005…What a fall from grace.
The Descent follows a cave-diving adventure of six women who become entrapped and have to battle the natural elements of the cave, darkness, anxiety, claustrophobia and flesh-eating creatures.
While all six women are our leads, the movie wants us to follow Sarah, played by Shauna Macdonald. In the first scene of the film, she becomes distracted while driving and gets involved in a car accident that ends up killing her husband and daughter. She is haunted by both of their deaths so she sees this adventure as some time to get her mind off them.
Unfortunately, the adventure goes awry as soon as the group finds out that Juno, played by Natalie Mendoza, led them to a cave that is not mapped due to their planned cave being a “tourist trap”, according to her. The remaining 90 minutes of the film takes us on an unforgettable thrill ride in a fight for survival.
The performances across the board are fine. No one outdoes another person but there is a lack of characterization for everyone else except for Sarah, so you have to take it upon yourself to care for these characters in their predicament. One aspect I really enjoyed about the characters is their resourcefulness. No one plays dumb here. Each woman does their part in order to survive.
The best aspect of this film is the cinematography. Sam McCurdy does a really stellar job when it comes to vibrant color. In the opening scenes, it can be off-putting as their are very strong blue hues jumping off in the middle of the day. It feels much like Twilight. However, once they get into the caves and use the flares, the red pops off and it looks stunning. There isn’t a single shot wasted in this film.
Now, the introduction to the monsters is absolutely terrifying. I dread panning in horror films and it got me here. It is one of the most frightening jump scares I’ve seen, and props to Marshall for not inserting a loud noise along with it. Another huge positive for this movie is the lack of music or jump-scare cues. Most of the film is super quiet or just natural sounds from the cave. It really lends to just how hopeless the situation feels.
The worst part of this film, unfortunately, is the editing. Anytime a character is attacked by the creatures, it is rapid cuts every second. You really have no idea what is going on or who has the upper hand. It’s hard to digest and pulls you out off the horror of the situation. It’s like watching the worst action movies have to offer.
In the end, this is a very enjoyable film and a must-have on your October watch list. This film has strong female leads, solid scares and beautiful set designs.
4 down, 27 to go