I’ll just get right to it and state that I liked The Descent. Not only did I like the original I liked the sequel. In fact there was a lot to like about this movie. I saw it some time ago on Netflix and have seen both movies at least twice since then.
The Descent is about a group of close female friends who decide to spend some quality time together; doing something they all enjoyed doing, subterranean cave exploration. This time though, they would venture into a cave unlike any other they’ve encountered before.
History has taught us in a number of ways and through varying mediums, either through literature or through film that there are certain places that we as humans absolutely never ever want to find ourselves. Steven Spielberg not only said for us not to go into the water, he also showed us why we shouldn’t do so.
James Cameroon showed us the importance of never being trapped in outer space in his extremely well done movie Alien.
Dante impressed upon us the importance of avoiding a place called hell, and its many depths. Not only did Dante broche this most difficult of subjects in his book but King James makes his own convincing argument within the pages of his book.
My point is this; the cave that these women found themselves in was that kind of environment, somewhere you never ever want to end up. Completely “in the dark” as to what awaited them they moved forward with their preparations for their excursion into the depths of somewhere that would turn out to be their own personal “hell”.
The first thing I liked about The Descent was the writer’s decision to include an all female cast. Women have long been depicted as weak and defenseless on screen, especially in horror movies, but not the women in this movie.
They not only possessed the physical strength necessary to do what they were endeavoring they also had an unquestionable level of intestinal fortitude that together made for a very strong group of female characters. Having such attributes meant that they would absolutely do whatever they had to do to survive when pushed to the very limits of survival, portraying characters far from being stereotypical at least in that way.
Furthermore, it’s my belief that the writer wanted there to be no question as to how they were portrayed as far as whether there would be any chance of them being perceived as being weak in any way. He did that by not only placing them in such a dangerous environment but also equipping them again, with the right attributes understanding that the combination of the elements would permit the characters to exemplify an innate level of strength that would trump any will to survive.
The two characters that embodied that strength skillfully were the very beautiful Juno (Natalie Mendoza) and Sarah (Shauna McDonald).
Secondly in casting an entire cast of females in the first movie gave the writer the leeway to create a more diverse cast when casting of the sequel, an indication that part two would be at least somewhat of a departure from the original.
The descent creatures while they were unlike anything we had seen on the screen previously, they certainly weren’t the first group of carnivores with an extreme affinity for human flesh. Bringing new meaning to the term cave men and officially referred to as “crawlers” according to writer/director Neil Marshall they have long existed in the underworld of a very elaborate cave system and managing to do so while evolving to what we witnessed on screen.
During their evolution they developed a very keen sense of smell and hearing, no doubt as compensation for their lack of eyesight.
Truly frightening, The Descent creatures had teeth that resembled that of a piranha, large protruding ears and bright colored skin.
Initially when I saw the first monster from The Descent I thought that was it. I didn’t think that there would be more. And although the movie would not had been as good if there was a singular threat to the women’s survival, ala the movie Alien, The Descent was appreciably better in part due to The Descent creatures out numbering the women, making their chances for survival much more difficult.
For one the women had no previous knowledge of the particular cave that they were in. Which meant that they lacked the knowledge to navigate the cave that The Descent creatures possessed putting them at an extreme disadvantage.
Similarly to a group of George Romero's zombies, The Descent creatures were unrelenting in their pursuit of the women, posing a threat at every turn. However unlike George’s horrible bloodthirsty zombies, The Descent creatures possessed a cat-like agility allowing them to climb the face of the various surfaces with in the cave with relative ease, giving them a distinct advantage when hunting their prey.
Again I really liked this movie. It was everything we horror movie junkies love about our horror movies. It was a pulse pounding non stop blood bath replete with an bad ass group of horror movie monsters unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And despite the Internet movie database’s rating of 7.3, I realistically would give it an 8 out of 10 that in my opinion would make The Descent one of the best horror movies ever.