The Descent (2005)

DIRECTED BY NEIL MARSHALL
CELADOR FILMS

A harrowing exercise in psychological terror, coupled with an in-depth examination of the fight-or-flight response, this British spelunking picture convinced me that I lack a certain sense of adventure, that I am not equipped with derring-do. (I frequently used to be reckless or foolhardy, but those are not equivalent.) Oftentimes claustrophobia-inducing, it at other times reminded me of 2014’s The Pyramid, which is unfortunate, but as it predated that flop by almost a decade, the blame lies with my tardiness. Similarly, I couldn’t help but relate this picture – featuring a group of friends with some relationship issues being picked off one by one – to others with like themes that I’ve watched of late. To be completely straightforward, this flick lacks somewhat for credibility, but it’s executed so well it’s not an issue. Dubious though I was when the cavers first encountered the resident humanoid danger, the troglodytes’ existence and demeanor felt circumstantially logical. (Indeed, I’d be hard-pressed to imagine how ravenous cave-dwelling mutants might not provoke some disbelief.) Seeing it with its original ending also helped, I think, ambiguous though it remained.

WHY DID I WATCH THIS MOVIE?

Having intended to have seen this movie long ago, it seemed like a good idea to finally do so, once I again remembered I still hadn’t, if you follow.

SHOULD YOU WATCH THIS MOVIE?

If you, like me, have yet managed not to experience it, sure, though I wonder if, like me, you will then perceive it through a somewhat tarnished prism.

HIGHLIGHT AND LOW POINT

Some of the gruesome touches were of course welcome, my favorite being the veritable, uh, lake of blood. This film has a sequel, to my dismay – but not to my surprise. We wouldn’t expect the film industry to leave well enough alone, after all.

RATING FROM OUTER SPACE: B+

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