Film Review: The Descent

The Descent

The best, most terrifying horror film that I have seen in the last 5 years. That is my take on Lionsgate Films THE DESCENT that is set to finally hit US theatres on Aug. 4th. I watched the film for the first time a few months ago and really liked it, but didn�t bother to post a review as it didn�t appear at the time that any of you would be able to see it any time soon. Nothing worse than reading about how awesome a film is and then not being able to see it anywhere. I hate that.

So I have held off posting this review till now. Only a few short weeks and you will all be able to enjoy this amazing film. You�ve probably already seen the commercials airing on Sci-Fi and TNT. I sat down yesterday and viewed the film again and was immediately swept right back into this dark claustrophobic nightmare.

Spoilers lie ahead so quit reading now if you don�t want to know some of the important plot points.

The Descent tells the tale of a group of friends, all female, who gather once a year for a vacation where they attempt some type of extreme stunt or sport. As we meet the women they are white water rafting and feeling pretty good about themselves. With one of the woman is her husband and young daughter. There are a few uncomfortable moments where it seems rather obvious that one of the other friends have been sticking to this woman�s husband. Although unspoken all involved know this to be fact. While in the car driving back to their hotel the husband and wife attempt to talk through the uncomfortable moment and there is a horrible crash in which both the husband and kid are killed. That moment and the scenes in the hospital afterward are stark, shocking, and difficult to watch but they are equally wonderful and beautifully shot. Just plain great film making.

We fast forward to a year later and the ladies are once again getting together for the first time since the horrible incident of the previous year, this time they are in the Appalachian Mountains. After an evening of reunion, they head out in the morning to take on this year’s adventure, spelunking. Down into the cave, they go and all seems well at the start, and then suddenly things take an unexpected horrifying turn. It seems that there are some humanoid cave dwellers stalking the caves and they aren�t taking kindly to the intruders.

The claustrophobic nature of the location is terrifying and director Neil Marshalls use of lighting or lack thereof is nothing short of masterful. The character development is top drawer. You as whisked into these ladies’ lives and instantly become wrapped up in their dilemma and their quest for survival.

For the American release of the film, it has been decided to change the ending of the film. I personally find this to be a mistake. The UK or original ending is great and perfectly fits the tone of the film. The new ending is still fine and those of you who have not seen the original version will never know the difference. Let�s hope that when the DVD comes out you will all get the option to see the last few moments that won�t make it to your local theatre.

There are some folks that hang around other horror sites that would lead you to believe that all this praise is a bunch of bunk but I am telling you The Descent is quite possibly the best horror film to hit the multiplex in recent memory. Having watched an equally good film, SLITHER open to disappointing box office I would hate to see that same fate befall this wonderful modern-day classic.

On August 4th get your asses to the theatre and support Lionsgate release of The Descent. It�s the film that we as horror fans have been waiting for.

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