The Descent (2005)
A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
"Hey, there's something down here... "
"The Descent" is a movie I've been wanting to get my hands on for quite awhile now. It had received near-universal positive reviews over the past few years and I was curious to see if it would live up to the hype. The answer is YES, it does, and in spades. "The Descent" is one of the creepiest, darkest, nastiest little movies I've seen in quite some time.
The setup is pretty simple: a group of women who enjoy extreme sports/adventuring start out the movie on a white water rafting trip. On their way home from that trip, Sarah (our eventual heroine) loses her husband and young daughter in a head-on car crash. A year later, the still-grieving Sarah meets up with the group again for a new adventure, this time exploring a cave in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
The main strength of "The Descent" is how it builds slowly; in fact we don't even see the creatures (dubbed "crawlers," though I kept thinking of them as "C.H.U.D.'s") until the film is more than half over. The first hour is scary enough without them, as the girls squeeze through holes in the rock in near-total darkness, occasionally getting stuck, fighting amongst themselves as the stress of the situation begins to get to them.
"The Descent" is one of those movies that actually works better on a TV screen, as long as you're in a dark room; it heightens the film's claustrophobic vibe. Make sure you pick up the "uncut, unrated" DVD, which contains the original ending from the British release of the film, rather than the truncated/fake "happy" ending of the American version.
Monster movie fans can pick up "The Descent" with confidence. Those with claustrophobia or fear of the dark should probably pass on it.
Have you seen it? If so, what's your opinion?