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The Descent (2005)

R  |   |  Adventure, Horror  |  4 August 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 142,684 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 1,085 user | 334 critic | 30 from

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Kayll ...
Mark Cronfield ...
Stephen Lamb ...
Crawler (as Steve Lamb)
Catherine Dyson ...
Julie Ellis ...
Sophie Trott ...


A woman goes on vacation with her friends after her husband and daughter encounter a tragic accident. One year later she goes hiking with her friends and they get trapped in the cave. With a lack of supply, they struggle to survive and they meet strange blood thirsty creatures. Written by Lien Dang

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When you're trapped 2 miles underground there are many ways to lose your mind...Claustrophobia. Disorientation. Isolation. Paranoia. Terror. See more »


Adventure | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence/gore and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 August 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El descenso  »

Box Office


£3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£570,850 (UK) (8 July 2005)


$419,970 (Australia) (1 December 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original unrated cut)

Sound Mix:

(US prints)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The park where the women are supposedly meeting, "Chatooga National Park" does not exist. The name references the Chatooga River which is the river from the movie Deliverance, which is loosely referenced in this movie (rough nature versus city dwellers). In Deliverance, this is the river that leads Lewis and friends into trouble. See more »


When one of the girls is looking for climbing equipment, but doesn't have any with her, she says, "Oh, fuck," but her mouth doesn't move. See more »


Sarah: [Sarah uses Holly's camera in night vision mode and sees all of the dead animal bones] Dead animals! Hundreds of them!
Beth: This is not good, guys.
Sam: Can we get out of here?
Rebecca: Which way?
Juno: [Uses lighter to try and find the breeze] Come on.
[the lighter's flame does not move]
Juno: I don't know.
Beth: What do you mean you don't know?
Juno: There's no breeze! It could be any one of these tunnels! Take your pick!
Rebecca: Oh, fuck it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

While the credits start rolling, there is a picture of all the girls on the background. See more »


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Masterful horror film. Spoiler free review
12 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If nightmare inducing horror is not your bag then the less you know about The Descent the better. Geordie writer-director Neil Marshall has delivered an accomplished, well acted, out and out horror movie that comes as much of a pleasant surprise as his first major feature Dog Soldiers did back in 2002. Shot in a mere 7 weeks The Descent sees a sextet of undeniably attractive action women leaping headfirst into an Appalachian potholing adventure that goes wrong so quickly you are left wondering if any one of them will survive, let alone ever see daylight again.

There are comparisons to be drawn to Marshall's 'Soldiers of course - again the story is stark and wonderfully economic. Again there is group of six people, predominantly one sex accompanied with a lurking, ominous threat and again there are more nods to popular film culture than you probably realise. The Descent however has a sense of humour that is suitably pitch black.

Long before the cave appears we play witness to a traumatic event that underlies the plot and serves to both unite and tear apart relationships in equal measure. Mostly affected are fragile Sarah and physically strong Juno, an adrenaline junkie who leads the group further and further beneath the ground. No time is wasted in recreating the primal feel of crawling through tunnels with hard hats scraping the dust from the rocks, choking and inducing paranoia all the way as it lingers in the stale, torchlit air. It's here Marshall gets a little inventive. Playing with various different lighting techniques our heroines become colour coded through scenes via glow-sticks, flashlights and video camera. Sounds echo when visuals are briefly lost and deliciously bone crunching they are too. Events escalate quickly and the whole ride becomes what can only be described as a non-stop relentless assault on the senses that will demand repeated viewing.

The only thing that will ruin this movie for you is word of mouth, which ironically is exactly what this film will need to become commercially viable. But the less you know, the more you will enjoy it. Have fun spotting references to Carrie and Apocalypse Now by all means, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a mere standard entry into the much saturated genre-movie staple. The Descent will rank as one of the most unashamedly terrifying British films ever made. It was made by people that love good cinema, and it shows. The Descent was made before The Cave, and now has an alternate ending for new audiences.

349 of 485 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Who else lost respect for Sarah? iansmom99
What are the crawlers meant to be? lauracharles25
Why...? StrWolf
Beth is a moron. Dahkra
Juno was the most interesting character. WhiteManFromTown1986
how did they expect to get out from the get-go? marfrie56
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