*** Official THE DESCENT Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Quentin, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Saw this last night.

    This is a top-notch horror film. I wish they had kept the original ending (you can find it on YouTube, but wait until you've seen the movie), but I still give it props for some quality horror/suspense.

    The premise sounds silly - 6 hot chicks on a spelunking adventure. But, it works well. Lots of good shocks, and the claustrophobia and the scary crap they run into down there make for a lot of fun.
     
  2. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    I agree the film is very claustrrophobic especially one particular sequence near the start of the trip into the cave.

    Enjoyable film and will be interested to see what people make of the ending, changed or not.
     
  3. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I saw this film last November when the UK set was released. Here's a review I posted back then:

    So, we watched this last Thursday, and I enjoyed it, though it was by no means perfect. First and foremost, the cinematography and the mountainous locations were just gorgeous. This gave the film a rather majestic feel early on.

    The first half of the film refreshingly takes it's time with the characters and the claustrophobic nature of the caverns they have chosen to explore. One sequence with a tight tunnel was unnerving to watch. The Crawlers don't appear until well into the film, and when they do appear, it's nice and out of the blue (or black in this case). Another thing I loved about the film is that it's very dark just like exploring caves and caverns would be in real life. The only light comes from the supplies the women bring with them. Of course, this adds to the suspense factor as well.

    The characters are likable enough for the most part. The one who breaks her leg is the only one that annoyed me. With a bunch of these women working on their first film here, they all do quite well in the acting department. Some of them are quite attractive too, namely MyAnna Buring (Sam) and Natalie Mendoza (Juno). The film has a score that struck me as very reminiscent of Morricone's The Thing score at times, and there are some nasty moments, mainly little things, that are rather cringe-worthy.

    Now, onto some of the problems I had with the film. I thought the Crawlers were way too easy to dispose of. They were getting their asses kicked left and right, and this really took away from their menacing factor. This brings me to my next problem, which is having Juno, and to a lesser extent, Sarah, become badasses. The scene where Juno breaks the one Crawler's neck comes to mind, as does the scene where Juno and Sarah are surrounded by the Crawlers, yet they quickly annihilate every single one of them. I can better accept Sarah doing this seeing how she was losing it and had reached her breaking point, but still... Sure, they're thrillseekers, but this took away from the film for me.

    On a more positive note, the ending was pitch perfect. Sarah turning on Juno after discovering her affair and fucking up her knee so she couldn't fend off the Crawlers was very mean spirited, as was the false hope finale. It made for a very ambiguous and effective close to the picture.


    In the end, I think the good outweighed the bad, but not by much. It's still a highly entertaining picture with some effective scares and claustrophobia. While the Crawlers (which sort of resemble a cross between Gollum and the Reapers from Blade II) weren't as menacing as I'd hoped, this was slightly made up for by the terror of facing them in the dark, closed in spaces where you could just as soon fall to your doom as be eaten by one of them. The DVD set is absolutely fabulous, but the film itself is overhyped. I actually think the picture might have been more effective if they'd just stuck with the claustrophobia and omitted the Crawlers entirely.



    Changing the ending is a ridiculously stupid decision. Doesn't surprise me though, because Lionsgate is a ridiculously stupid studio.
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I had a good time with this film as it's got plenty of adventurous gals and a scary cavern expedition. The cast is good, and the twists and turns make for some good horror footage. I was happy to see Shauna MacDonald (Sarah) because I remembered her from her role on Spooks (MI-5 in the US) as Sam, she turned in a good performance.

    If you enjoy the horror genre, this film is right up your alley.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  5. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I guess I've seen too many horror films because this thing had every cliche in it. Here's what I wrote in the other thread:

    08/04/06

    Descent, The (2005) [​IMG][​IMG]

    The latest horror film from director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers) comes as a major disappointment after hearing so many good things. Six women travel to the mountains so that they can explore a cave. Once inside the cave they get trapped and don't know their way out so they must travel forward where they run into flesh eating humanoids. This film has so much going for it but at the one hour mark it runs into a wall and blows up in the viewers face. There are two major problems, which I'll get to in a second. Technically, this is one of the best made horror films I've seen in quite some time. Once we enter the cave the director is able to build some great atmosphere, some nice suspense and an overall atmospheric mood. However, building suspense is very tricky because you've got to know how far you can pull the suspense without the viewing growing tired. The suspense builds for the first hour and then it just hits the wall and it seemed everyone in the crowd grew tired the same time I did. Another problem is that the monsters are hide throughout most of the first half of the film. As Roger Corman use to say, hide the monsters as long as you can because when you finally show them they won't be nearly as effective as what the viewer has already build up in their minds. When the monsters finally did appear they were another letdown because they seemed like that bald guy in The Lord of the Rings. The monsters were nearly as scary as the suspense that lead up to them so this just added to the boredom. Then there's a "twist" at the end that I really hated. This was a very nice and strong try but things just didn't work out in the final thirty minutes.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I liked it, but felt a little let down. The first half was solid with a palpable sense of claustrophobia (thrown in with some inter-character mistrust ala The Thing), but once the crawlers showed up it seemed pretty repetitive until the end. There were some great jump scares though.

    I'm surprised it's doing so well with mainstream critics. I loved Dog Soldiers, but this was a little disappointing.
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Gotta agree with Michael and Matt on this one. I watched the UK DVD last year and thought it nothing special, all-female cast aside. Not bad, but the positive reviews I've been seeing are bewildering. I guess that says something for the state of horror films when middling fare is touted as great. I do find it strange that Lion's Gate has cut the original ending.
     
  8. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    I thought it was a gorefest. It was an action packed, spelunkin' fun time and it was very enjoyable. It's not the best film I have ever seen - but had genuine scares, and actually seemed like it could happen. [​IMG]

    I do agree that it seemed to easy to defeat them, and that they were a merger of Reepers from Blade II (but not as cool) and for the life of me - Gollum. I kept thinking, "Juno - slice Gollum in the face!"

    The "pool" scene was awesome.


    4/5 / B-

    ry
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Descent". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Loved it. I agree the claustrophic scenes got to me more than anything else.
     
  11. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Enjoyed it, but am in the camp that liked the other ending more. It packed a stronger punch. Although the US version still works... it just fit less with the tone/theme of the film. I thought it was pretty intense and didn't feel like the gore was senseless... as it is with most horror films these days. I also thought it earned a lot of the scares and didn't resort to the typical horror cliche-ridden sequences we're so used to. Some of the scariest stuff was the real horrors of the cave (being trapped in narrow spaces... hanging above a bottomless pit, etc. The monster effects were very eerie and I also liked the nods to other genre films.

    *** (****)
     
  12. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Well, now that the dvd is about to arrive, I am unsure of whether to pick this up. I liked The Relic (film and especially the book) but I hate most horror films with their dumb scares. I do like a good horror film though which seem to be hard to find these days.

    Is this one a keeper?
     

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