The Descent (2005)


Neil Marshall follows up his auspicious feature directorial debut, Dog Soldiers, with this all-female plunge into the claustrophobic depths of Appalachian caves. The Descent reminds me of From Dusk Til Dawn in that it’s really two completely different movies jammed together at the middle. The first half is harrowing enough just watching the women climb, crawl and wiggle their way deeper and deeper into the Earth. You just know something awful is going to happen. And then the movie takes a weird, supernatural turn by dropping the ensemble right into a nest of, shit, I don’t know what they are — underground vampires? Throwing the audience for a loop doesn’t always work, but it works for me here. It also provides the perfect backdrop for two of the women to sort through some nasty, unfinished personal business. From it’s tragic flashback opening to the final imagery, The Descent just oozes and drips with melancholy. Love the dew-covered woods. Love the brooding score. Love the women. Love the movie.

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