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on 20 April 2006
The creators of Dog Soldiers have come back with what I believe is a masterpiece of a movie - The Descent.

The films plot is pretty basic - girls go cave exploring, girls get lost, girls discover monsters, girls get devoured by monsters. However, dont let this put you off, as this is unlike any horror flick I have seen.

The first half hour or so starts slow, introducing us to the characters and their friendship. Its when the girls go down to the cave when things get very interesting.

Even before the monsters appeared, I was terrified by the girls struggle through the tight narrowed caves. Being a tad claustrophobic myself, I found their journey hard to watch.

Its when the creatures make their first appearence that the film changes dramatically. We now experience tons -and I mean TONS - of gore and gresome moments.

In terms of cinematography, this film is amazing. The way the director shoots the film in this dark unpleasent place is dramatically effective, making this possibly the best technical peice of British cinema I have ever seen.

I wont give to much away, but all in all this was a very enjoyable film. See this if you love gory flicks, but also if like me you appriciate the way films are shot.
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on 17 August 2005
The Descent is scary and suspenseful and is also one of the best British horror films in years. It is also one of the best and most original horror films made anywhere to come along for sometime. It is such a refreshing change from the slasher films that for so long have dominated most releases in this genre. It features a mostly unknown cast, except maybe for Nora Jane Noone (Steve's Irish girlfriend on Coronation Street). With a cast of mostly women, except for the film's opening scenes, it could easily have turned into a sleaze and skin show and have offered little else. However, despite the attractive female cast, the filmmakers chose not to do this, but to offer up an increasingly humourless and tense exercise in terror. The film benefits greatly from the claustrophic cavern settings, the eerie lighting and most of all from the fantastic sound effects and realistically competent performances from the entire cast. The film may well be best seen and heard on the cinema screen, but for those looking for an excellent departure from your average horror fare, you won't find this DVD purchase or rental a waste of your time or money. Be sure to see it with someone you can hold onto!!
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on 8 August 2005
FINALLY!The first decent horror movie of 2005!After 6 or so months of rubbish remakes and unoriginal films such as Creep,Ring Two,Hide And Seek,House Of Wax etc, this film really was a breath of fresh air. The build up of suspense in this film is like something i have never seen before. The way the film centres around the 6 female leads and apart from the opening, no one else is in the film. In that way i found the film similar to The Blair Witch Project. There are certain moments in the film that literally make you jump out your seat. It is though extremely gory, the faint hearted should avoid watching. It also does have an ending which may confuse some people. If you want a genuinely frightening and original horror to watch,i really recommend this.
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2007
2005's "The Descent" is definitely one of the more superior horror movies that I've seen in recent years. Effortlessy getting across to the viewer the feeling of claustrophobia and terror suffered by the group of characters unfortunate enough to find themselves in a cave inhabited by inhuman, vicious crawlers very much intent on devouring all involved "The Descent" is commendable for getting almost everything right as a horror movie. Naturally, its gotten criticism for its gore content (as if that wasn't the point) but pointless, irrelevant criticisms aside: "The Descent" is the full package. There's great acting, great suspense, great make-up, great horror scenes and the sort of gore fans of films of this nature will just lap up.

After her husband and daughter die in a tragic car crash Sarah (Shauna McDonald) is convinced by friends Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza), Beth (Alex Reid), Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) and Sam (MyAnna Buring) to go on a caving expedition with them. Also tagging along is Juno's friend Holly (Nora-Jane Noone). Naturally, when the group of friends eventually do go underground into the cave things take an awry turn. A tunnel collapses and it becomes apparent that they aren't alone in the dark miles underground. Now they must battle for their lives against inhuman crawlers intent on devouring them all.

Nora-Jane Noone is a fantastic Irish actress, that she hasn't found immense success in her career is a travesty. Once again she's superb in what isn't exactly the meatiest role of the movie (her character's fate is sealed by a pivotal event not so soon into proceedings). She shines whenever on-screen though. Shauna McDonald does an excellent job as the emotionally shattered Sarah, still struggling to come to terms with the very untimely death of her closest family members. Also of note is Natalie Jackson Mendoza, as the most adventurous of the group Juno. Her character's perhaps the most flawed, and thus she needs to do a great job portraying the many misgivings and troubles Juno has in addition to the sheer horror of the terrifying situation she finds herself in. Those are the three actresses that stand out in the nearly all-woman cast. That all being said, everyone involved does pretty great, whatever their fates.

The prospect of having almost an entire motion picture set underground sounds like a somewhat daunting task, even when considering how such darkness adds effect to any horror movie. However, the people responsible for bringing "The Descent" to the screen have brilliantly executed a movie that feels all the more claustrophobic and tense in both the design sets of the cave and the sheer size differentiations. When characters are in small spaces they're often face to face with the blind crawlers, adding to the fear factor given the crawlers make up for their non-existant eyesight with excellent hearing. And when in large spaces, the size and darkness adds up to the possible shock factor. The crawlers can sneak up on the terrified women from any angle.

"The Descent" is high on blood and gore. With both the crawlers and the supposed victims taking their fare share of stabbings, murders and mutilation throughout the crawlers may always have the scare-factor and advantage of sheer numbers over the apparently doomed women, but always promises that its not all open-and-shut in this movie.

I love it when horror movies are done as well as this. Having always been a fan of the horror genre I've been left disappointed by movies that appear to think gore passes as horror or scares. Alas, that's not the case. What's so excellent about "The Descent" is that it has the ability to scare us as well as soak the picture in blood. Thus making for an altogether superior horror that's surely not one to be missed.
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on 31 March 2006
Dog Soldiers was very well executed on a low budget.
This film is superbly executed on whats probably a slightly higher budget.
It's the directors ability to take what little he has and evolve it into a mindblowing classic horror film that gives the film the 5 stars it deserves.
With so much rubbish churning out of Hollywood, it just goes to show you don't need A list actors and millions of dollars to produce an awesome horror movie. It just takes an original script, a bit more effort in the ideas department, and an excellent slice of direction.
Not for ages have I actually jumped and nearly torn my girlfriends arms off with fright (who was already in a nervous disposition less than halfway through the film). She was left disgusted with my choice of DVD but equally impressed & entertained.
There are sequences in the film which aren't too disturbing but have you glued to the screen but wanting to look away at the same time... then leave you gasping for more!!!
Highly recommended.
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on 4 June 2006
Some people seem to have missed the point of this film, complaining about the horror. It is a horror film but is done so well that when the gore finally arrives you're nerves are already shredded. The build up is tense and the creepy moments really do make you jump in your seat. Far from being empty, the characters are largely rounded, although not all are sympathetic.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2007
'The Descent' begins when there is an accident on the way home from a white-water rafting holiday, killing (the lead character) Sarah's husband and daughter. A year later, Sarah and her five friends meet up in a wood in America to go caving, only to find out (once it is too late) that the cave they have gone down has apparently been undiscovered before, so there are no maps or guides to the exits and there is also something living down there - some kind of creatures that are believed to have evolved from humans but have adapted to live in the dark.

I'm not usually someone who gets that scared by horror films but 'The Descent' was absolutely terrifying. As a majority of the film is based in the very dark, very compact caves, it makes this film very claustrophobic and the feeling that they can't see anything around them in the thick darkness is very unnerving indeed. There's a fair amount of blood and gore but it is all necessary, not just a splatterfest that most recent horrors go for these days. The "creatures" are also very creepy, being almost human adds a bit more realism to it all. The camera-work is very impressive, taking the claustrophobic feeling to the maximum. There is one scene in particular where the characters a crawling though a crack (literally) in the rock when the entrance caves in, which is honestly the stuff nightmares are made of! This scene also proves that this is a terrifying film even before they meet the creatures living down there.

Overall this is without a doubt one of the best horror films I have seen for a long, long time (British or otherwise). If you're after a tense, exciting, shocking and scary horror film, I can't recommend anything better than this. However it may put you off going caving for life!
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on 8 May 2006
This film just blew me away. I liked Dog Soldiers but nothing could have prepared me for this. Now having seen the film 3 times I can say it holds up to reapeated viewing. The crawlers are creepy as hell and the violence brutal and unrelenting. If you like horror in any form you owe it to yourself to see this. One of the best films of 2005, not just horror films.
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on 9 September 2014
I like the casting choices, mostly faces I recognise from occasional appearances in murder mysteries. The feel of the movie is similar to Dog Soldiers but with women. With a basically UK cast, with a variety of UK/Irish accents it would have seemed more logical to set it in Scotland which is where it feels like it was filmed, but that is a minor comment. As with every film set in a cave, ever, the huge amount of light that supposedly comes from a Maglite, homemade (infinitely burning) flaming torch or glow stick is a bit disruptive to the illusion, but I understand that if I could only see what was possible with the real light source I would not be able to see anything.

As a person who is not a horror aficionado I have to admit I found the low rent special effects quite reassuring because I do not need to see scary stuff to be scared, you only need to suggest it and I will be uncomfortable, so dubious animations of bats and other weak SFX helps avoid there being too much tension for me.

Stupidly I read something about Descent 2 before seeing this, so I knew how it would end before I started, but still on balance "I like it" is a reasonable score. So for an evening in with a moderate horror movie I think this is a great buy. Yes there is lots you can pick at but for the film budget, the DVD price and the pacing it is worth it.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2006
The Descent is from the same director as Dog Soldiers and interestingly features an all-female cast as opposed to Dog Soldiers which has an (almost) all male cast.

Six friends get together for a "holiday" exploring a cave as a way of getting over the death of one of the friends' daughters. However, as usual in the genre things go wrong and they end up trapped in the cave with no map. At first their main concern is finding another exit from the cave and fighting the paranoia and claustrophobia that the dark, dank conditions of the cave create, but then they discover that that they are not alone in the cave, and the company has a taste for blood...

The first fourty-five minutes of the movie is about charactor-development and building up suspence, which I think was very well done. The second part of the movie is all about action and gore, which is also very well done. This movie manages to have very well crafted horror and suspence as well as gorey deaths and buckets of blood. Few movies have been able to combine the two aspects of the horror genre as well as The Descent has.

This movie is similar to the directors previous movie, Dog Soldiers and to another movie called Creep. It also had aspects of The Cave.

The Descent is a suspenceful, gorey and origional horror movie and definatly one of my favourite post-2000 movies. I would certainly reccomend The Descent to any fans of the horror genre, or anybody looking for a good movie. This is horror at its best.
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