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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Descent - Review (2005) 31 Days of Horror #12

Premise:  Some friends' cave-dwelling trip takes a bad turn when their way out is blocked after a cave in.

Review:  I rented this film when it first came out on DVD with the expectations I would typically reserve for a low-budget horror film I never heard of.  What I got was a fantastic surprise; a claustrophobia-inducing trip starting with smiles and ending with the stuff that nightmares are made.  One of the best horror films of its decade.  The film delivers some real scares as well as very good performances and a story with a much more depth than usually found in the genre.

The story begins with a group of friends heading out on their annual adventure trip which after one of them suffers a loss in her family.  Shortly after they make their way down into the underground cavern there is a collapse leaving them stranded with few supplies and no way out... from there it goes down hill.  There are many aspects of the film that make it work so well, for one the underground cavern setting makes for the most claustrophobic environments you can find.  It allows you to regress back to your childhood fear - it is dark, there is no way out and you are confused.  Are your fears legitimate or just the the workings of your imagination?  Having a cast of unknowns that can actually act also keeps you involved, there is no distracting star power here to give your brain the easy escape from the madness of the film.  Being that cast is almost entirely made up of normal women, the type you may actually know, the violence tends to resonate more.  The main reason the film works so well is that once you think you have it all figured out it changes, evolving into a different film than you originally thought you were watching.  It is offers more than just scares and gore, it proposes uncomfortable questions as to what you would do to survive.
Scariness:                   4 out of 5     Stuck in a cave with no supplies and way out, that's a scary start. 

Gore/Violence:           4 out of 5     No shortage of violence and blood here.

Story:                          4 out of 5     There are real characters here, not just lambs headed to slaughter.

Overall rating (as a movie, not just as a horror movie):  8.0 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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