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The Descent
One year after a tragic accident, six girlfriends meet in a remote part of the Appalachians for their annual caving trip. Deep below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes when a rock falls and...  View more >

Starring Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Alex Reid...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Aug 5, 2006
Okay, so a disclaimer: if you don't like being scared or can't handle gore, don't see this. That's all.

That being said, this is the horror movie I've been waiting for for years. It's a movie that actually knows what's: claustrophobia, distrust, loneliness, the unseen and the unknown. And it uses these tactics relentlessly against the audience. It's a punishing experience that pummels you over and over until you're a whimpering mass of fright with very wet pants. You might think I'm exaggerating, but this is hands-down the scariest movie of the new century, and probably the scariest movie since the original Alien. This is coming from a genre fan who doesn't get easily scared. This one got to me, and it's best seen on the big screen with an audience ready and willing to go the distance with you.

The film centers on 6 women, thrillseekers who, led by the Alpha Female (wouldn't know what else to call her . . .) Juno, go on a cave diving expedition into what they think is a well-known cave system. The rest of the film is best left unknown, but if you've seen the trailers then most of the surprises and best shots have already been spoiled for you. That doesn't make it any less effective, though, because I had everything straight up throught the end spoiled for me before going in and it still got to me.

The acting is uniformly good, much better than the average genre fare, and all from unknowns, which means of course, that these faces are real characters and not some star playing a character who gets brutally killed. This also works in the movie's favor; with an ensemble cast with no stars, it's tough to say "That one's gonna survive because he/she is played by _____." The directing, too, is top-notch, with excellent lighting and mood, and spectacular use of the claustrophobic setting. There's one shot in particular, with one character dangling in midair, the camera spinning disorientingly around her, while . . . but never mind. You'll see, won't you?
Basically, this is the scariest movie I've seen in years. Leagues beyond The Ring or The Grudge or Hostel or even the serviceable Hills Have Eyes Remake, The Descent is a horror film that, even before the horror starts, is tense and suspenseful, and once the carnage begins it grabs you by the balls with a vise-grip and never lets go. **** our 4, and probably one of the best of 2006.

PS The last 30 seconds of this movie were cut for the American release (it was released in the UK last year), but from what I hear those 30 seconds were absolutely shocking and will be included on the US DVD. The ending for the Yank version is serviceable, but has a sort of "huh?" factor to it, ending with a question mark rather than a bang.
Aug 7, 2006
It was a "good" movie. By no means a great horror show. Lot of screaming women, and and some bat like monsters in white rubber suits. It will make you jump a few times, and thats why I gave it a good.
Aug 9, 2006
Excellent horror movie. The Decent has all the elements of what a true horror movie should be; nail biting, creepy, startling, gory squeamish blood scenes, tragedy, originality and good character development with a “semi-believable” antagonist. Unlike most modern horror movies that lack almost all of these things then substitute orchestral music for cheesy Guitar chunking heavy metal riffs (and I like heavy metal, Hollywood just doesn’t use it right), as if that makes it “more intense?” The Descent knows what intense is, it is a TRUE HORROR movie!

The Decent is a movie for all those who truly enjoy a NON-Hollywood dummied down stupid high school wanna-be horror films with stupid brainless girls who run around like future porn stars.
Aug 9, 2006
Aug 10, 2006
The good News:\"The Descent\" is better than last year terrible film \"The Cave.\" The characters are better and the pot is better but one the girlks reach the deep of the cave and the monsters start attacking, then the film returns to the old school of blood and gore. It has it\'s moments, but moments can\'t save this movie.
Aug 15, 2006
Some good special effects, I felt claustrophobic through various scenes. some story line for thrill seekers.
Aug 22, 2006
May 29, 2007
When "The Descent" was released in August 2006, it was surrounded with pretty good reviews. I have been looking forward to seeing it on DVD. Expectations can be a double-edged sword...

The first part of the movie is scarier than the last, even though the last contains the part with the monsters.

As the women descend into the cave, anyone with the least bit of claustrophobic tendencies will be bothered. I was squirming in my seat just at watching them wriggling through a small tunnel with no knowledge of where it might lead or even if there is an opening on the other side. When one of the women gets stuck and panics, you'll feel the same constricted feeling that she is experiencing!

It's with the appearance of the monsters that the movie takes a slight step down. The human element of a group of thrill-seeking women being stuck in a cave miles below the surface and no one knows that they're there, much less in trouble, is more intriguing than the presence of albino humanoid monsters. There is a scene which exemplifies this difference right after the first full attack and Juno is forced to defend herself. Her struggle with the monster is nothing compared to what happens when she is surprised from behind.

There are some obvious "boo" moments that horror fans are going to see coming long before they happen. They've been done before and we know it's going to happen. Combine this with the shaky handheld-cam camera work near the end, and it displays an amatuer appreciation for the horror-genre-loving audience. The shaky-cam thing really needs to stop.

If you've only seen the theatrical version, the extended ending that is provided on the DVD is better.

The sound is also very good at drawing you into the movie. The Dolby Digital EX mix uses the surrounds to give you cues as to the menace approaching these women, and it helps draw you into their situation.

While it's not in the same league as "Alien," this movie is definitely worth watching. To fully enjoy it, however, it needs to be watched in a dark environment. Having the lights up or watching it in the middle of the day with the sun shining in is not going to set the mood that you'll need to fully appreciate everything that "The Descent" has to offer.

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