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The Descent (2005)

R  |   |  Adventure, Horror  |  4 August 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 145,043 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 1,088 user | 335 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

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



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8 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Kayll ...
Leslie Simpson ...
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


Claustrophobia. Disorientation. Hallucination. Fear. 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?


Six cave sets were built for the film. See more »


When Sarah falls into the pool of blood, the torch falls behind the big rock to her left. In the next shots, the torch is on the top of the rock. See more »


[Repeated line]
Juno: It'll be fine.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Meg. See more »


Featured in The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

If you go in there...
18 August 2006 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

After watching "The Descent", my bud Robert and I decided that spelunking would now come off both our "To Do" lists—for good. Writer and Director Neil Marshall's "The Descent" crafts and sustains an unrelenting tension throughout, once you get past the suspended disbelief. As I watched the women one by one crawl through the tiny water filled crevice to enter the caverns somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, I thought, "How are they going to get back? They've got to be nuts!" Well, you just have to go with it. Well, kind of. Fortunately, director Marshall effectively pretexts the story. The prior thrill-seeking jaunt for the group was a white water rafting trip. Following that trip, Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) suffers a life altering tragedy. A year later, Sarah and her close friend Beth (Alex Reid) join up with the gang at a cabin in the Appalachians. The 6 women are gearing up for a cave exploration trip headed by Juno (Natalie Mendoza). Apparently, Juno regrets not being there for Sarah following her personal tragedy and recovery. Juno sees this trip as an opportunity to empower Sarah. Those along for the ride include Becca (Saskia Mulder), Sam (MyAnna Buring), and Holly (Nora-Jane No one).

The trip starts out curious enough when Juno (Mendoza) discards her map of the caves. The women proceed, and are undeterred by the telltale signs of mysterious animal carcasses. Not surprisingly, the cave exploration goes horribly wrong. They are lost without a clue how to get out, and they are being hunted by terrifying fleshing eating creatures. So the women are literally in the fight for their lives. Marshall masterfully orchestrates the mood and tension. My bud Robert keenly pointed out that what really works in "The Descent" is that it never evolves into a trite action movie. No one screams, "Take that you, Mother F-----!" Granted Marshall may have intended his story as an empowerment allegory. The women are authentically terrified, and fight with all their courage and heart amidst their overwhelming fear. Somehow while they are thrashing and being thrashed by the fierce creatures, it is all strangely believable—strangely. Rather it gets you thinking: "Would I do the same?" Sarah (Macdonald) and Juno (Mendoza) in particular emerge as forces to be reckoned with. Mendoza's Juno warrior spirit is consistent and engaging—she is the brash leader. MacDonald is powerful and believable in Sarah's emergence as a heroic presence. All the performances are strong throughout.

Marshall maintains a claustrophobic feel and keeps us on edge. The unveiled details involving the cave creatures regarding their possible evolution is a nice touch. "The Descent" has to be one of the most gory horror movies with realistic violence—and I am not a big horror fan. However, I am a big hero fan. "The Descent" has great women heroes. Shauna Macdonald and Natalie Mendoza are awesome. "The Descent" is a wild tension filled ride. At the very end one wonders, "What next?"

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Who else lost respect for Sarah? iansmom99
What are the crawlers meant to be? lauracharles25
Why...? SanteriWolf
So apparently you can spot a hidden crawler earlier on? predatorxxxxx
Juno was the most interesting character. WhiteManFromTown1986
Beth is a moron. Dahkra
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