My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 85% Certified Fresh
PLOT: A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
WHY IT’S HERE:
Because it’s one of the most viciously suspenseful horror movies since “Aliens.” That’s right. I said it. “The Descent” stands as one of the only films that made me curse out loud in a movie theater. It was not very crowded, and the scream was very conspicuous. Fun times. Using a cast of unknowns (to Americans, anyway), director Neil Marshall takes a genre picture – running from zombies/aliens/vampires/fill-in-the-blank – and actually makes it MEAN something by spending quality time with the characters before plunging them into a terrifying situation. Too many movies spend too little time letting us get to know the people involved, so when we get to the meat of the movie, we don’t care. “The Descent” gets this part exactly right. It also creates, very effectively, a claustrophobic atmosphere with creative lighting and camera angles. The creatures, when seen up close, may not be THE scariest-looking “big-bads” ever, but that hardly matters, because the film is so good at creating the scares and the horror, you’ll be too busy covering your eyes. Or cursing at the screen. Or both. A crafty horror movie that would be great for a Halloween movie viewing party. Just sayin’.
[p.s. Seek out, if you can, the Original Unrated Cut on home video. It contains the original British ending, deemed “too dark” for American audiences.]