The Descent is a tense horror movie which will eat at you and play on your mind long after viewing. The Descent is one of the best horror movies to come around for a very long time. The plot follows six friends who reunite for a caving expedition after a tragic accident which effects the main character - Sarah's life, forever. This trip is in order to get back out into the real world and experience fun again and to help put Sarah's mind at ease. Their adventure soon goes terribly wrong when a collapsing of rocks traps them deep in the dark, claustrophobic underground caves, and they find themselves being chased by bloodthirsty Crawlers - deformed creatures who have inhabited these caves for hundreds of years. Character development doesn't go overly deep -- but it doesn't really need to. The headstrong girls all get along fine, but there are obvious alliances and unspoken grudges hanging in the air. It is a realistic group of people you can truly imagine in reality. Juno has organised this adventure, a climb down into a famed cave system. She is the leader of the group; assertive and intelligent. Her new friend Holly is a hardcore thrill junkie and looks like she could be trouble, while mild-mannered, supportive Beth, Rebecca who is soon to become a doctor and Sam fall more in line in terms of group dynamic. As the movie begins, and they start their climb through these narrow, dark, nerving tunnels the tension already begins to rise. You can almost feel the emotion, the fear and excitement these girls are feeling. You can almost smell the dank, earthy smell of these ancient tunnel-ways. The way the film sucks you into the situation; makes you sweat, gives you goosebumps, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end - this is genuinely effective scares. The movie doesn't require the false scares and loud jumps that are overplayed nowadays; it just grabs you by the scruff of you neck, and throws you deep into the exhilarating experience of enclosed spaces, with this group of intelligent, skilled, athletic women, who continue on down these tunnels... until Juno makes a horrifying confession which dreads you with fear. This isn't the cave that she pointed out to them in the guidebook. It is in fact uncharted, and she has no clue if there is another exit from where they are at this point. Right about now you feel so nervous. The lump in your throat is growing bigger and your palms become sweaty. The terrifying idea that this situation rings true to what could very easily happen in real life is a horrifying idea. And the thought of being lost and with no sense of control or direction, thousands of feet underground where nobody can help makes the tension rise higher and higher. The group's bond is stretched by this horrible news. They, naturally, freak out and start to argue and point the blame finger. As these women then continue on with their journey deeper and deeper into the darkness, physical stress and strain begins to become apparent. They are sweaty and hot and wet and dirty. They have very little equipment and soon lose their rope. As they continue further and further into the heart of the underground, there is also that burning question swimming around them. Are they going to be able to find a way out, or are they just going further and further into the wrong direction? Paranoia, desperation, claustrophobia and pressure begins to make the girls crack. They begin to hear noise and echoes and crawling sounds. Could it be that they are not alone? Could there be other people down here who could help them? Apparently not, we learn, as we are introduced to Crawlers - bloodthirsty hunters - in a revealing way which will make you jump out of your skin and make it crawl. This introduction to the villain is one of the most heart-pounding ones I have ever seen! It really gets your adrenalin pumping! During the initial attack on the group, an attack is made on one of the girls and the group is split up. Now things really begin to get moving along at a jaw-dropping pace. These horribly deformed creature inhabit these caves and prey on humans. However they are blind, so they track down their prey with their astounding hearing skills. Once the group is split up in a wave of panic and frenzy, things really start to get juicy. Pits of bones, pools of blood, chambers filled with stalagmites and stalactites (which are cleverly filmed to show how dangerous and deadly they can be; like razor sharp poles. They almost seem to make you think how even the caves are against the group of girls, because of how extremely dangerous and unsafe they can be. Even the caves and tunnels are on the Crawlers side) and dark tunnels which go on forever are what the girls encounter, as they continue to delve deeper, in both fear and hope for survival and escape. As the film pushes itself to the extreme without stopping to take a breath, emotional secrets are revealed, fatal accidents are made, and a final act of vengeance leaves you sitting there with you jaw in your lap, your spine tingling and your head swimming with emotions on these events. The Descent is a fantastic race against time. Not only does it pile on the gory goods the tense unnerving chills, but it also breaks into tougher topics; betrayal, revenge, decisions, responsibility and fear for survival. Neil Marshal delivers a fantastic, brutal horror movie which doesn't play out the typical clichés and stereotypes. It is as real a story with an array of true, honest, believable characters and real questions, thoughts and touches on real emotion. The Descent it a definite must see, and one of the finest horror films to come around for years and years.
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