This movie is one of the most unique and original films I have seen in years, or ever. Normally, I do not go for ‘creature features’, but The Descent is so much more than that. Even if this wasn’t a horror film, the back story is enough to keep anyone interested. The story revolves around a group of young women, best friends, who are really into adventures and dangerous excursions. The fact that the movie is composed only of women is another example of just how brilliant it is. Pair that with unknown caverns and creatures, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a rare gem.

The main character, Sarah, and her friends are white-water rafting, and her daughter and husband show up. They set out to leave, and subsequently get into a horrific car wreck. Her daughter and husband are killed instantly. Fast forward to a year later, and the group is in America in the Appalachian Mountains, preparing to embark on another of their aventures. The ringleader of the group, Juno, decides they should go spelunking in a cave nearby. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, Juno has never been in this cave before, and as far as she knows, no one else has either. This is only discovered after a tunnel collapses and the team is forced to move forward into the abyss.

Issues surrounding Juno’s ego ensue, as well as having to cross a chasm in the cave by way of rope and climbing equipment, and one of the girls breaking her leg badly. As they attempt to get out and reach help, they are attacked by subhuman-like creatures who appear  to be blind, albino, blood-thirsty hominids. They kill Holly, the one with the broken leg, and drag her away, as Juno tries to fight for her friend. Sarah, Beth, Sam, and Rebecca have scattered in different directions, but Beth comes back, and Juno, thinking it is another creature, hacks her in the neck with a pick-axe. Uh-oh. She leaves her friend to die and continues on. Sarah has discovered their lair of dead animals and bones, and with her hand-held camera on night vision, can see as they ravage Holly’s body. She then discovers Beth, not yet dead. She asks Sarah to put her out of her misery, but not before revealing that Juno did it to her, and that the necklace Juno wears is from Paul, Sarah’s deceased husband. Apparently, they had been having an affair for a long time, and Sarah had no idea. Rebecca and Sam attempt to fight back but are also killed.

So, it comes down to Juno and Sarah. Juno tells her that she watched Beth die at the hands of the creatures, which is Lie Number One. Sarah knows better. They continue to kick ass, but Sarah holds out the necklace, letting Juno know that she found out, thus confronting Lie Number Two. She jabs the pick-axe into Juno’s leg, and leaves her for the creatures. Does she survive? Does Sarah get out? Well. depending on the version you’ve seen, Sarah gets out and escapes in one, but is hallucinating and still trapped down below in another.

Released in the U.S. in 2006, this British film is nothing short of amazing. Anyone I know who has seen it definitely misjudged it, until they saw it. It is one of my favorites, and even though I own it, I watch it anytime it’s on television, as well! I love the tension surrounding the girls, with everyone trying to help Sarah recover, to the unrelenting ego of Juno, to them all fighting for their lives while fighting with themselves internally. It could not be better. Sometimes movies turn out to be simply magic, and everything falls into place. This is what happened for The Descent. Fabulous.

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About Aloha Mister Hand

28, horror-loving chick, lover of animals, movies, and her boyfriend.

11 responses »

  1. Tim Willers says:

    I loved this film! 🙂 Even more-so when I read some theories online talking about the hallucination at the end, and how supposedly the director has made some comments suggesting the monsters could actually all be in Sarah’s head, and she lost her mind down in the caves and it was actually her doing the killing and imagining the monsters. I’m not sure if this is totally the intent in the theatrical version… But apparently there are some cut scenes where before she even goes in to the caves she briefly sees the monsters, which are supposed to hint that it’s actually all in her mind and she’s mentally unstable.

    …End of long random comment 😛

    • Hi there Tim! Thanks a lot for your comment! Random comments are a good thing, don’t worry! *lol* That is a very interesting theory about the hallucinations! Since there is a sequel though, I don’t think they meant it that way. But it is a likely theory if there hadn’t been a sequel! It is such a good movie! Very psychological, anything is possible! Thanks again!

      • Tim Willers says:

        Haha, I’m new to WordPress so I still feel a bit odd creeping on people’s blogs – we’ve had to make one as part of our course at University xD
        Yeah, I’ve not seen the sequel but from what I’ve heard it’s no where near as good as the first? I think the hallucinations thing was only a planned storyline, but I like the thought of it : P

      • Haha, that’s cool! Are you going to keep the blog once your class is finished? I am also new, been on here about 5 days now. It is addicting, lol! Don’t feel weird, you aren’t creeping! lmao 🙂 I actually liked the sequel, and since most sequels suck, I was pleasantly surprised with it!

  2. rwhyan says:

    Excellent movie, it’s really a rare one considering the loads of crap that has come out in recent years. Another great post!

  3. aaronebrown says:

    This movie is scary even without the creatures – hated the constant sense of claustrophobia. Much prefer the original British ending, its a little depressing but makes so much more sense in the context of the movie.

    If BRIDESMAIDS proved that an all-woman cast can be hilarious, this proved the same but for horror

  4. karlails says:

    I have had the DVD sitting on my shelf for a couple of months now. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t watched it yet. I’ve heard only good things about it, which is rare for a horror movie.
    Maybe tonight is the night.
    Cool review!

  5. I love this movie so, SO, much. Hated the sequel as it took so many by-the-numbers conventions of modern horror films that the first film deliberately avoided and just threw them right in there.

    One thing I love about this movie that few people touch on in reviewing it – and it’s a rare thing to find in any horror film – all of the light in the film (once they’re in the caves) comes from the characters’ lightsources. You can only see what they see with their headlamps, night-vision, flares, or the occasional phosphorous rock – I think that’s key to creating such an oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere.

    Great review!

    • Thank you so much!
      I actually liked the sequel, and yeah, it may be cliche, but at least the original characters were in it, and I loved the twist at the end, though it made me sorta sad. Spot on about the lighting. You only see what the characters themselves get to see, and that is really refreshing!

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