The Descent ***
It's ironic watching the box office total for "The Descent." I find it so amusing that Americans would pay a sum of over twenty million dollars in a three day period to watch something as dull and unscary as "When A Stranger Calls," and yet, when true horror stabs them right in the face, they skip it. This is the kind of horror movie that horror fans have been aching to see. A great, gory bloodfest, with bones sticking out of ankles, and people plugging their fingers into eye sockets, and stabbing people on the head. Between this, and "The Hills Have Eyes," I can't decide which one was more brutal and more daring. I think it's pretty ironic also that it takes a brilliant horror film, and the best I've seen in a long time, to be from the United Kingdom. Of course Hollywood didn't come up with something as special and creepy as "The Descent." It would just be too easy. In fact, there is an American Hollywood film that came out last year that is much like this called "The Cave." More irony is that I gave that film zero stars, and declared it the worst film of 2005.
"The Descent" also has the plot of every guy's wildest dream. But wait, the irony is that all the guys were out seeing the new Will Ferrell comedy. Oh well. There is an entire female cast. Well, there is a male, but he is killed five minutes into the film. That's Sarah's husband, whose husband and young daughter are killed in a horrible car accident. Woody Allen's character in "Scoop" would have said it's because the husband was driving on the right side of the road, but it could also be because of the giant pole that went ramming through his forehead. Anyway, one year later, Sarah's five girlfriends are going on a trip to the top of a cave to go caving. They are Juno, the strong and in shape one who can lift her leg up to the side of her face. There's Holly, her protege. Beth, who appears to be Sarah's best friend. And there's Sam and Rebecca, two sisters. They are all in the cabin in the woods together, and for a moment I was wondering if I slipped into an X rated movie instead of a gory horror film. However, the next morning they all prepare to go into the cave and explore. They climb to the top of the mountain, and go through the entrance, where there is no turning back. Halfway through the climb down, however, they end up experiencing a cave in, and Juno purposely left the guide book in the car. Oh, and she also neglected to tell them that she lied, and instead of being in a tourist cave, they are in a cave that has never been explored before.
The group soon finds out that the cave has been explored before, but nobody that has explored it has lived to tell the tale. And the human and animal bones that are scattered alongside the rocky floors are evident to this. The cave is inhabitanted by creepy crawling creatures, that look like human, are blind, and listen to the sounds around them, very much like bats. And one by one, each of the friends experiences a horrible encounter with one of the creatures, who dwell in the cave like roaches. . . everywhere you look, as they simply look for the exit in the cave to get them home.
It takes about half the film before we even get a glimpse of these creatures, but unlike other films of the genre, the first half is not boring. There are plenty of scares, and the tension slowly rises, until they appear, and once it starts and it body count rises, it doesn't let go. This is one of those rare horror movies where it's actually fun watches these people get killed. Being scared, for once, wasn't by the book, and I saw a horror film that wasn't loaded with cheap thrills and lame scares. I really enjoyed this one. It's not a perfect film, but it does what it sets out to do in a way that should pile on millions and millions of dollars, but for the first time, the horror film that people should see, will be the one that nobody does. I bet they all see The Grudge 2, though. I feel bad for the state of affairs the movie-going public is in. . .