There have been a lot of less than impressive horror movies in recent years, particularly out of Hollywood. Cabin Fever is a prime example of such a sub-standard flick and there are many more. One distinct advantage British horror has is a true grittiness to it, a kind of 'realness' which makes the characters a lot easier to identify with.
In The Descent we follow the fortunes of an all female cave exploration team who are going on an adventure in a mountain range. The purpose of this expedition is to bring them all together after the hideous events of the previous year which are revealed at the beginning of the movie.
It's not a particularly big name cast with perhaps Saskia Mulder as Rebecca who also appears in the BBC's Book Club the best known actress on display. Certainly the most recognisable. However, the strength of this movie isn't in its star acumen, but rather in its story telling and direction.
The Descent is claustrophia in abundance; tight cave systems barely give room to breath, and the overwhelming darkness compounds it ten fold. In this movie, light is at a premium.
As for the horror side of it, well let's just touch on the fact that there are rather unfriendly cave dwellers (Who it must be admitted look successfully hideous) who intend to make life difficult for our heroines. They also sound vile - a testament to the sound engineers and overall design of these characters.
Gore levels are impressive without being over the top, and what would a horror movie be without its gore? On that note although this could easily be classified as horror, I would also class it under suspense and claustrophobic dark thriller.
The direction is uniformly effective, but the insatiable darkness and occasional fast action do tend to make certain parts a bit confusing. It's a small price to pay for what is overall a very useful technique in terms of film making - although it should be added that it's quite unique as deployed here.
Overall, this is a good film and worth your attention. It's certainly one of the better horror films I've seen for sure. The ending clinched it for me for sure.