“The Descent” is an above-average horror machine about six women who descend in a hole in the ground. First off, it’s great that the movie casts unknown actors. Usually, the most expendable (read: least popular) actor gets off’d first. But you can pretty much tell who survives the longest because the movie devotes much time to specific characters. There’s also the problem of identifying who’s who when the six are below in the dark. It would have helped if each lady had distinguishing trait or maybe I’m too deaf to hear subtle distinctions among the British-accented feminine screams.
The movie is deft though in its scare tactics. There are terrific frightful moments of crawling in tight spaces, hanging above bottomless pits, and getting lost in the dark. But nothing makes me look away more than long periods of silence and inaction. As for the creatures in the dark, they’re a bit of disappointment. They look like a bunch of Gollums and nope, not the precious sort either. I suspect these six girls are wearing some blings in their fingers. It’s my best explanation as to why these creatures attack. Or maybe because they just had to since they know they’re in a horror movie, no?
I kid. I kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if “The Descent” might be the best horror film of the year. It’s quite an accomplishment. But I really wished it would have been more ambitious. I would’ve taken out the creatures and opt more for more realistic scenes. The movie had sufficient material of troubles to begin with. The idea of being trapped underground is palpable enough of a nightmare scenario. The movie only touches upon this but doesn’t venture further. Yes, the movie is brave in the dark but it’s not brave enough to try something that hasn’t seen the light of a movie projector.
Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Alex Reid, Nora-Jane Noone, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Oliver Milburn, and Molly Kayll
Rated R strong violence/gore and language