The problem with horror movies is that once you stop being scared of stuff, your opinion of all horror movies drops dramatically. Once the fright factor is null and void, you start looking for subtleties that’ll keep you interested, and those are often difficult to find in those… once-offs. You know the movies I’m talking about. Shock factor if you’re looking for a film you can watch multiple times. The Descent is like the crappy version of both shock and subtlety, yet this makes it an okay movie.
If you’re afraid of caves and/or claustrophobic, that is. That’s what The Descent is all about. It’s about a group of thrillseeking girls who want to go spelunking. They drive out into the ass-middle-of-nowhere, camp out in someone’s cabin, then prepare to dive. Oh, also, one of the main characters lost her husband in a tragic accident and that doesn’t really matter.
They go to the cave, spelunk down, and soon experience a cave-in and are subsequently trapped. Everybody panics. Some people see some stuff moving. Another person gets too excited and falls into a pit, receiving a broken leg and an exposed-bone wound. The good news is, a conveniently placed caveman drawing indicates that there are two entrances to the cave, so there IS hope of the group escaping. Only there isn’t.
Turns out there are a bunch of pale as hell, blind, wall-crawling, flesh-hungry cave people who respond to noise by going berserk and eating the source. At this point, everyone gets separated and starts having to face off against the nasty buggers. Someone gets eaten alive. Someone leaves someone to die when they aren’t really dead. Someone develops major vengeance issues and decides to cleave the betrayer’s shin with a pick.
There’s a little annoying twist at the end where the main lass thinks she gets out and instead winds up right where she left off; deep underground and surrounded by hungry cave people.
Expect high-tension, precarious scenes where a single slip-up means certain death. The tone is set well, so the thrill is still there after you’ve watched it a few times. I still watch The Descent every once in a while, just for the cavernous imagery and ambience. As I said before, however, it’s not the best horror movie. It’s jack of all trades but master of absolutely none.
Erik Woidtke of CinemaBlend found that The Descent was a truly harrowing sight to behold. While I’m a bit too jaded to appreciate the thrill of the fear of the unseen and unknown, I still appreciate the immersive nature of the movie. If you turn off all the lights while watching, you might get a whiff of that old “cave fear.” I didn’t, but maybe you will! Here’s the link: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/The-Descent-1712.html