Friday, October 23, 2009

The Descent Review (2006)

Coming in straight from 2006 is director Neil Marshall's horrific tale of The Descent. Neil Marshall, the previous writer and director of Dog Soldiers, made his return to film in a cave. Being one of the most positivly reviewed horror films of the past decade, by both fans and critcs alike, the real question was, does The Descent live up to the hype. While the film is now known all around the world, everyone should know that it is a majorly British film. With a mostly British cast, a British script, and was filmed in England and Scotland. All that for a movie set in America.

Now, before I officially begin this review you need to know a few things about this movie. Firstly it has two shockingly different endings. The European ending, and the American ending. The film was realesed nearly a year later in America than it was in European countrys. And upon test audience results, filmakers learned that most audiences on the western hemisphere found the original ending to dark. A small bit of editing fixed all that. I am here to tell you that I know both versions of the film, like the original ending more, and will be reviewing THAT film here today.

The story of The Descent is actually quite simple. It's about six women who go on an annual vaction in which they perform some sort of extreme sport, whether it be white water rafting, rock climbing, sky diving, it is always sure to be dangerously fun. So when the new year comes into effect they begin to plan their latest trip. They decide to hike up the Appalachin Mountains to go cave spelunking. Now for those of you who don't know, cave spelunking is when you repel down into the open mouth of an underground cave, and explore its trenches. So, once these women descend into the cave, they get trapped. And upon futher inspection, they realize that they are not alone in the frigid caverns.

I feel that the story for the film is great. I mean, though old, and pretty predictable, the setting of a cave is one that you hardly see anymore. Other than this film, it's hard for me to think of really other big ones that have come out in the past ten years. Anywho, a cave is the perfect place for a film to be set, it is a naturally creepy place because of all the cartoons we see as a kid, its cold, dark, wet, and the cave that was in this film (even though it was a set) was really good, because it had tight corners, and barely breathable air. And no matter how old you are, you're biggest fear, your worst nightmare, virtually everyone has some kind of fear of being stuck, not being able to move. The Descent takes your natural claustrophobia and exploits it, which is acutally more frightening than the beasts.

The acting in this film was decent. It wasn't spectacular, but I don't think that it really needed to be. Most scenes deal with six women in a cave. But, this is also where the acting hits its fault. Neil Marshall wanted to make the film with an only female cast because women talk about their feelings more than men do. So when it comes time to make these scenes become a reality, I lose faith in the film because I don't believe these women are fearing for their life. They are simply speaking lines, that you could tell someone had already written for them.

As for effects, the sets that were used for the caves were spectacular. I thought that they were real until I read that they were in fact sets on a studio. The blood in this film was extreme. I thank God, for, once again, for NEIL MARSHALL! He only used practical effects for the blood and gore in this film. Which is amazing because there is so much of it. And with the way most horror films are using are using blood and gore withe CGI, I just loved watching it. The only thing that I didn't like about the practical production was the actual monsters themselves. I wish that they would've stuck with darkness and claustrophobia for natural scares and tension, and left the monster to be implied. Since everyone has a natural fear of being stuck, the monsters kind of took away from natural scares, and a fear that the audience could relate to.

I appreciated the ending of this film and felt that it was an amazing addition to the film itself. It also, almost, made up for the lack of emotionality the charecters had. The ending was deep, heartfelt, and utterly disturbing. And I felt that it was the true ending, over the American version.

Overall, The Descent is one of the most intense, crazy, scary, frightening, well done, excellent, horror films of the last decade. The sequel is set to come out soon, and I am only somewhat excited to see, but I am for sure going to see whatever Neil Marshall does next.


No comments:

Post a Comment