Horror about a young group of female friends who go on a climbing expedition and find a lot more than they bargained for. Lost in a cave, off the maps, they encounter a race of barely human cannibalistic subterraneans who are very, very hungry.
Average Rating for The Descent (Special Edition) - 4 out of 5
(based on 1 user reviews)
The Descent (Special Edition)Joshua Hurtado
The world of horror has seen hundreds of disappointments over the last 20 odd years. This is one reason that it is so satisfying when a film of this caliber shows up. The Descent is the sophomore feature for Neil Marshall, who made the wonder Dog Soldiers a few years ago. The Descent traces the path of a group of women into uncharted depths below the earth, into what may ultimately become their tomb. Early in the film we are introduced to the characters, each of them archetypal in their own way; there is the wounded one recovering from a huge traumatic event, there is the "gung-ho" girl who loves danger, and so on. The film opens with some wonderful vistas of what we are told are the mountains of Appalachia in the eastern US, but the film really finds its visual style once the group descends. Rarely has a film used claustrophobia so effectively as this one. We see only what the women see, and this means we are as surprised as they are when all of the horror begins to take over. Below the surface are a race of humanoid monsters they neither we, the viewer, nor they ever really get a good look at, but we see enough to be scared out of our minds. We do know certain things about them, which gives us only a small leg up on the spelunkers in peril. We know that they are blind and we know that they hunt by sound, but what do they hunt? In this case, it is our group of women who soon realize that the cave they are in is not what it seems and they must find a way out past these killers. The brilliant cinematography leads the viewer through this challenge along with the cavers and leads us to be as uncomfortable and wary as they are. Watching this film requires that the viewer be seated, if not in a theatre, at least in a pitch black room, because any external source of light will rip you from the experience. The women ultimately begin to understand the beast they are fighting and have to pull together to attempt an escape, but will any of them make it out? Can they overcome their own pasts and become a team? Can recent revelations about events that transpired between them be left behind in the name of survival? All is answered as the film concludes, but they aren't all the answers we're hoping for. This special edition two discs DVD from Pathe is a wonderful presentation of The Descent. The pitch black cinematography is preserved throughout the cave sequences and the sound design is excellent and brings the viewer into the claustrophobia. The second disc includes a full length documentary on the making of the film which includes everything from the dierctor's perspective on the filmmaking process, to the special effects, as well as showing how they recreated what seem like endless underground caves on sound stages. I recommend this film and this specific package very highly. I am a horror buff and I've been thoroughly disappointed with many of the offerings lately and I am glad that someone like Neil Marshall was given the opportunity to make a film like this.
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