The Descent Reviews
'The Descent' Takes A Fall
What starts off as a promising, filmed-in-England suspense tale about what befalls a sextet of female spelunking friends degenerates into a routine "they're all around us!" horror movie, complete with a ridiculous final *gasp* shot. A shame and a disappointment given its reputation. I would have preferred to see a more fully character-driven, who-can-you-trust? scenario that is hinted at during the first half, however once the other elements are introduced midway the proceedings become routine with a capital ROUTE. As in, I could instantly see where it was headed - right down that craggy shaft.
I will say there is a lot of rewatchability in this flick because of the characters and direction, just like in Dog Soldiers Neil Marshall knows how hold an audience's breathless attention. Some of the gore is the most gruesome I've ever seen (not necessarily a good thing), the capper is the setting of a broken leg bone - I have to look away during that scene! Incredible to realize the cave interiors were actually filmed on a sound stage.
I was right about its rewatchability, the characters and their bonding are so tightly knit that it makes their predicament and fear that much more dreadful. I realized that I should review the movie that was made and not the movie I think they should have made, and as it turns out they made one of the scariest, most effective horror films of the 2000s. The creatures and their outstanding freaky makeup show up after 57 minutes so there's plenty of white-knuckle suspense leading up to all hell breaking loose. The cast is terrific with Natalie Mendoza as Juno one of my all-time favorite horror movie heroes. Or is she really a villain? You'll have to decide for yourself. One more note, I saw the US ending when writing the first review, the original ending (available on the Unrated DVD) is a big improvement, even if it leaves us scratching our heads a little.
Si bien, se comenta que existen dos fines alternativos (según la región donde fue estrenado el film), de los cuales uno es más extenso que el otro. En este caso, optaré por quedarme con el final que pude apreciar allá por el 2007, el del "pastel, la antorcha y la cueva". Si se toma esto en consideración, podremos concluir que Neil Marshall ha dejado una valla muy alta para cualquier aspirante al cine de terror que cometa el pecado de caer en convencionalismos. Aquí tenemos una película con varios ejemplos de cómo construir escenas de dicha naturaleza con herramientas y enfoques alternativos.
Dreadfully paced, poorly written, and woefully acted, "The Descent"'s enduring popularity remains a mystery to me.
The experience of watching this film can be accurately recreated by grabbing the Christmas lights from your attic, shutting off all other light sources, and then having the bulbs talk to each other for an hour - just remember to give the bulbs such awful personalities that you'll want to smash them within 15 minutes of beginning this ridiculous exercise.
Bad, bad, bad!