The Descent Review
by Josh Green
August 6, 2006
All of the reviews that I have read have been fairly positive, so my expectations for this film were actualy pretty high. It is unfortunate that my review is probably the least positive of the reviews many will read on The Descent. Not that I disliked the film, but I am a little dissapointed at how much better it could have been but was not.
The film is about a group of friends who decide to go spelunking in a "tourist friendly" cave. Come to find out the trusted leader Juno, takes her friends on an expedition that turns out horribly wrong when they not only become trapped inside the cave, but they also begin to be stalked by the creepy creatures who live there.
The movie is a lot more character driven then I thought it would be. There is some good build up in the beginning in order to understand who some of these characters are. The pacing is also very good. What I was most impressed by was that even though the creatures didn't show up until after about 45 minutes in, the movie managed to stay exciting with some tension throughout the beginning when they are first exploring the cave. The creatures are pretty believable, largely because there isn't much explanation of whom or where the girls think that the creatures came from. Unlike last year's The Cave, which didn't use their creatures to the fullest, The Descent lets us get a good look at them yet still allows us to be be scared of them after seeing what they look like. A feat that a lot of new horror films have not been able to achieve. There is enough blood and gore to gross out any horror fan, the acting is pretty good, and the makeup is good as well. So why am I disappointed?
The Descent had high hopes to be one of the better horror films to come out in the past 5 years, but destroys its glory with clichÃ© "jump scares" that ruin the tension and turns the film into another popcorn thriller. It was really disappointing to see. Some of the tension in the film is so great when they are crawling through the tunnels of the cave, but it is totally ruined by an unnecessary scare that is only there to make the audience jump. This is the same reason I didn't really care for The Grudge. But that's another story… The other reason why these "jump scares" don't work is that they are too predictable. I could go on forever about this but I will stop for now.
Overall, The Descent is probably one of the best horror film to come out this year. Even though it could have been the best to come out in 5 years, it was not. Definitely check it out if you are a horror fan and/or if you're looking for some tips of what not to do while spelunking.