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Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
All Critics (173)
| Top Critics (36)
| Fresh (147)
| Rotten (26)
| DVD (12)
Marshall could very well be the Caravaggio of the B-movie.
This intermittently effective UK horror thriller carefully establishes the psychological relationships among the women, then squanders this calibrated and generally plausible setup with a series of crude, implausible, and scattershot horror effects.
The film draws on some of horror's most memorable scenarios.
The Descent sustains a level of intensity that most horror films can barely muster for five minutes.
For my money, [the] first 20 or so minutes are the best in the film. Once the real adventure gets underway in the cave, things get less interesting.
While the movie has wonderful moments of unmotivated tension that make sure we're quite ill at ease from the beginning, it's also got a few too many of the kind of cheap boo-scares that indicate a director not fully trusting his grip on you.
An all-female cast, a claustrophobic cave setting draped in red light, and an anarchic, vicious fight to the death...need I say more about one of the most physically taxing movies of the century?
The Descent is already unusual for being a horror movie with an all-female cast, but it's even more unique for being the kind of movie that explores the damage caused by a friend's betrayal.
Here is a movie so precise and cautious with its material that every moment, every suggestion or action, becomes an experience that involves us to alarming lengths.
Super-scary and vicious, both psychologically and physically, this cleverly produced chill-ride is edgy British horror at its very best.
Tense, gory and masterfully malevolent.
Although Neil Marshall's attempt to justify the U.S. ending is admirable, the original ending is the only way out - providing a chilling bookend to a motif and suggesting what seems like cerulean-tinged peace is actually the solitary solace of madness.
Very bloody at times but not as scary as I thought it would be. Still very good though.
A near-masterpiece of a horror film. One of the most terrifying and suspenseful movies I've sat through. It's a gory, messy, dirty, and bone-breaking movie that deserves to be seen. Most critics gave this a solid rating, but I feel this was an extraordinary movie. The score is brilliant as well, adding an "epic" feel to this...well, epic journey down in the caves of the Appalachian Mountains. The ending will leave you haunted for a while, definitely a movie that will stick with you. Every two or three years a great horror movie comes out. This is hands down the bet horror film from the 00's.
I think that Neil Marshall is one of the greatest horror directors working in the business today. I clearly remember when I first saw his debut feature Dog Soldiers a few years ago that I was left feeling terrified, but also laughing in my seat at it's hilarious black humour. His second feature, The Descent, is one of the most serious movies I've seen in a while, and that's saying something when you consider how horror movies have become a lot funnier than scarier in recent years. Having said that this is an absolutely brilliant film. The Descent started by petrifying me, giving of a wince inducing sense of claustrophobia and total isolation. But as it progresssed so skillfully treading into more disturbing and darker territory I was feeling more and more horrified. I love horror, it's undoubtedly one of my favourite film genres, but i've toughened up on them over a long period of time and not scared easily. However I was literally shaking after seeing this. It's also got everything a horror fan could possibly wish for. Director Neil Marshall clearly loves horror as much as we do, he brings together all elements of the genre, psychology, gore, monsters, kills, murkiness, and of course the "last girl." He offers countless bloodbaths throughout the flick and each scene is shot by Marshall carefully, with a beautiful visual style. Due to the compressed environment in which the plot is set, the film also uses it's imagination to bring on the scares rather than ending up becoming cheesy, then succumbing to the usual means of deaths in horror films. His script features incredibly realistic dialogue that truly aids you in investing your sympathies to the characters. In addition I found the cinematography eye popping and downright stunning, the acting compelling, and the crawlers in the caves constantly scary and creepily animated. To put it simply, The Descent get's weirder, bloodier and nastier after every twist and turn, leaving you right at the edge of your seat. Before unbeknownst to us throwing it's audience back into them again in complete fear. I just couldn't ask anything more from a horror film. It's outright demonic with just a slight pinch of feminism from it's all female cast, and quite easily the perfect fright flick for Halloween. Without contest it's one of my favourite horror films of all time, and eventually it will become a timeless British horror classic.
Well done horror flick. Ive noticed a lot of the better thrillers are being made in other countries. Im so glad that these movies are getting shots to shine here in the US.
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