The Descent (2005)

On night 28, of 31 nights of horror, I watched the movie that scared me more than any other so far, and it wasn’t the monsters or the thousand and one jump scares that did it.

I enjoyed Dog Soldiers so much that I wanted another Neil Marshall movie and I vaguely remember hearing about The Descent when it was released in theatres. While the previous movie was six men fighting monsters, last nights movie was six women… fighting monsters. Except the women were not given any guns and had to do it in the dark.

The story is about a group of friends who get together regularly for adventure sports. We see three of them white water rafting when the film opens, and a year later they and three others unite to go spelunking.

Now, right there the movie is making me nervous. I don’t do well in enclosed spaces and once the women enter the cave system, the filmmakers do an amazing job of reproducing the tight, dark, dangerous and claustrophobic feelings of being underground. There were several times while watching The Descent that I’m sure I stopped breathing. I can’t believe there are people in real life who do that for fun!

In all honesty, the film could have been done entirely without the subterranean monsters. There are so many damn things that can go wrong exploring caves that just exploring that, as well as having a breakdown in the group dynamics, would have made for a thrilling and terrifying ride. The “crawlers”, as the production team calls them, are creepy and cool, but when you think about them the next day, don’t really make sense, neither in their biology, or their actions. Not a big fan of the ending either.

Bottom line, the movie get your heart racing and occasionally make it stop. Beware if you have a problem with jump scares though, there are a LOT at the beginning of the film.

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