31 Favorites #21: The Descent


It's amazing to me that there are people out there who consider going underground into deep, unexplored caverns to be the very definition of A Good Time. I think it's A Terrible Idea, and Neil Marshall's film The Descent, was made to scare the snot out of people like me.

A year after a young woman named Sarah loses her husband and daughter in a horrific (and when I say horrific, I mean HORRIFIC) car accident, she gets together with five of her equally adventurous friends for a trip to the Appalachian Mountains to explore an underground cave system. (WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS????)

Anyway, everything is going well (if you can consider being underground in nearly complete darkness as "going well"), when the tunnel that will lead them out of the caverns suddenly collapses, leaving the women trapped underground. (I KNEW THIS WAS A BAD IDEA)

They try to find their way out. They have to cross chasms, there are accidents...ugh...if you haven't already, by this point, wet yourself with the awfulness of it all, there's the unwelcome addition of a pack of cave dwellers hunting the women, in complete darkness, and picking them off one by one.

Yeah. Fuck spelunking.

Three Things I Love About It:

  1. A (nearly) all-female cast featuring strong, adventurous, independent, spunky women is a rare thing in film, and The Descent has it.
  2. The movie is legit scary before you even see a monster, and it's almost an hour before you do. It manages this by preying on our fear of dark, claustrophobic spaces, and making trust issues that make us uneasy arise between the women.
  3. The film has one of the most haunting endings I think I've ever seen. Please make sure you see the original (UK) version of the film. The American remake does a great disservice to the narrative.