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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"The Descent" is a good movie in almost every way. The tension and claustrophobia of being trapped in an unknown cave system is palpable. The previous movie of Neil Marshall was, in essence, a black comedy. There is none in here. Everything is horrifying, terrifying, thrilling and scary. Six girls trapped underground and a common enemy. This film brought two things to mind while I was watching it, Aliens and the Thing, these two movies set the bar when it comes to atmosphere, and this above all others is key to a good horror film. Neil Marshall seems to be a master of this, in an era when great horror films are tough to come by. From the very beginning this movie grabs you by your collar and doesn't let go. It seems to place right in the mix of everything that is happening, and emotion, what was the last horror film anyone has seen that had emotional attachment to its characters.

The gore comes pretty hot and heavy in the second half of the film, and the ending of the film is appropriately surprising and bleak, without being corny. Another big plus in my book is that the "creature" FX aren't over-the-top and don't rely on much, if any CGI. When I first heard that "The Descent" was a "creature" film, I was kind of worried because I feel that those types of films have gone severely down-hill with the advent of the over-use of CGI...but this film doesn't fall into that category. Some of the acting isn't the greatest but it doesn't really detract from the film overall, and some seem to think that the first half of the film is slow. Personally, I think that the early sequences in the caves are a great "tension-builder" as things go from bad-to-worse, and right when you think it can't go any lower, the audience is clued in to the existence of the other "inhabitants" of the caves and all hell breaks loose. "The Descent" is a pretty good horror film and shouldn't be ignored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2013
The Descent is a smart and interesting film, more about about character and story than endless gore of jump scares. It's a film that's not only great to watch but is notable better a second time through, being less about scaring the viewer (which it will still likely do) than telling a story. It's about the about what it takes to ultimately destroy our self control and learned civility. And it's about what we find in ourselves when civilization is truly gone.

The plot of that of a group of lady friend going cave diving a year after one member lost her husband and daughter in a terrible car accident. The one leading the group decides to 'make it interesting' and things go south and they become trapped. That's when things start to go really bad. Not to spoil too much, things get bloody eventually and that former wife and mother is pushed back so unbearably far as to truly awaken a deeper, fight or flight part of herself.

What makes the film so excellent is how well all the characters are written and how simple, true and honestly all the motivations are and how decisions ring true. This is a realer, smarter group of people than are featured in most horror films. It's a group of real people in a terrible situation. And the best part is it all serves the main story about the main characters inability to recover from the accident and what it's done to her life. She's been running from what happened up until these friends come back together and as they go deeper into the cave system she's forced to come to terms with what happened.

It's a really great film that knows it's strengths and works within a small scope. It uses sparse but brutal violence to help tell it's story rather than be weighed down with non stop gore and tired genre conventions. It would never have won an oscar, but it's a great one to see.

For context, some of my favorite films:
The Limey, Lost in Translation, Solaris, The Bourne Supremacy, The Matrix, Solaris (2002), Kung Fu Hustle, In Bruges
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2006
neil marshal's The descent" is a great movie.the outline is as follows.six girlfriends go caving only to find out they are not alone in the cave.what follows is a fast paced adrenaline fueled thrill ride that grabs you by the throat and won't let go.there are many scary moments in the film.there is a nice buildup of suspense before the creatures are revealed, and once they are, they are terrifying.the acting is good and there characters are well developed in the early stages of the film(before the caving scenes).you may be out of breath before this one ends.if you get scared easy, you may want to watch this movie with someone or you might not get through it,as it is intense.i liked the twist ending, which sets up nicely for a sequal.i saw the britsh version, in which the ending apparrently differs from the north american.i can't wait to check out the north american version to have to check out this movie. 5* out of 5
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
If you like scary movies, see this one. I am a huge fan of horror movies and this movie REALLY scared me. Watch it in the dark with no interuptions and you'll get the full effect. The real action doesn't begin until about halfway through the movie, but that doesn't mean it isn't suspenseful. And when the real action does begin, it's WELL worth the wait. I rented this movie and watched it twice and am now buying it. Just my opinion of course, but definitely one of my most favs.
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on December 4, 2012
If you like horror and suspense films this one is really good, its also a bit messed up but really good i gve this movie a 4 out of 5 stars. Must buy and to your collection
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on October 8, 2014
I am not a fan of horror movies, but managed to enjoy the twists in this one, even though one person I talked to who had seen the movie found them predictable.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2007
This movie rocks...I have watched 'Dog Soldiers' from the same director and really enjoyed it. So, I knew this one wouldn't be disappointing. After watching, it is one of my top horror movies of all time. The movie does have a morbid ending and that what makes it different from the rest. Over time this movie will gain a cult following....if not already.
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on September 27, 2013
It will be good it was on my friends wish list. The dvd is in great shape.... Fast shipping Excellant
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2007
All I can say is...WOW. The creatures themselves are creepy enough to freak the heck out of ya... you don't really want to miss this. One of the best horror films out there, really... I don't think I'd want to go caving again...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
My girlfriend has often noted, and rightly so, that few movies categorized as action, horror or thriller, include two women speaking to each other about anything other than a man. Go ahead, think about it. It's not easy. Well, if you've seen Descent, it might have come to mind. Descent is a film which features only female characters (okay, one man shows up but only in flashback and only for a moment). These six women come together for a weekend of spelunking and they speak nary a word about men. In fact, they're far too busy trying to survive their little girls' weekend in the caves to speak, think, or worry about men at all. This is truly a story of women without men.

The six women are not uniformly well developed or characterized (this is a horror movie after all) but nor are any of them portrayed as incompetent or extraneous. They all have a role to play that goes beyond simply getting killed--even if, for some of them, that role is a small one.

The tension is built slowly and, for the first half-hour or so, it is generated exclusively by the characters and setting. The environment, in particular, is used to the fullest by writer-director Neil Marshall (Centurion). Marshall is well aware that no psychopath, monster or ghost can be as scary as those places we rarely dare to tread, deep, uncharted caves among them. These caves, and the predictable but inevitable realization that the women are lost, generates as much terror and conflict as would be needed for, say, an unusually good TV movie about survival. Marshall, however, takes things a horrifying step farther. I'll let you discover how and to what effect.

For a small movie that seemed to come out of nowhere, The Descent is exceptionally well shot and surprisingly well crafted. There is quality here, under the spurting blood and sheathing the broken bones. And yes, there is plenty of spurting blood and plenty of broken bones. This is a violent, gory film and much of it is gratuitous. Not in to that? Don't watch it. Despite the gore, I am pleased to report that, despite featuring a half-dozen women in a dangerous situation, the Descent includes no rape or sexual violence of any sort.

The Descent is one of those gems that went largely unnoticed outside of the genre market. For horror movie lovers who've never seen it, or even heard of it, The Descent will be a treat. For those who like scary movies and yearn for a movie that features no men killing or coming to the rescue of women, The Descent might be worth braving the gore (just watch it from between splayed fingers.)

A straight-to-video sequel, The Descent: Part 2, exists. Its central plot is ludicrous but it's worth a look if you enjoyed the first film.

A final note: The movie is in no way related to Jeff Long's novel of the same name (and it's an excellent novel, by the way.)
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