This British horror film is (in my opinion anyway) one of the best horrors of the last decade.
A group of 6 friends come together to do some cave exploring. Sarah is recovering after losing her husband and daughter in a tragic car accident. This trip with the girls is meant to be therapeutic. It turns out to be a nightmare. Leading the group is the feisty Juno, a caving enthusiast with a hunger for excitement. She takes her friends on a fun day out, but doesn’t bargain for a cave in, sealing the entrance they just came through. No problem though. According to the map, there are three ways in and out; they’ll just take another route. Except that Juno hasn’t brought the map, because the cave systems they’re now trapped in are new and have never been explored before. She tells her flabbergasted friends she wanted them to be the ones to discover this new system. I’m only a viewer, but I wanted to reach through the TV screen and give the deceitful Juno a slap. Her friends contain their anger far better than me. So what are their choices? Either stay where they are and die, or keep exploring and hope there’s another way out.
It’s really hard to review this film without leaving spoilers. If you suffer from claustrophobia you may find it difficult to watch. There’s danger around every bend. Will they be able to find a way to the surface, or will the next corner show a dead end or a passageway too narrow to crawl through? How will they manage if one of them gets injured? What are those sounds Sarah thinks she hears every now and again? And is it her eyes playing tricks on her, or has she seen something moving in the dark? To find out how exactly they do fare, go watch it immediately!
It’s rare to watch a film with an all female cast, rarer still to find a horror movie where all the women are strong and capable of handling themselves. With an international cast, The Descent is a refreshing change of pace from the average horror film.
There were some scenes I just had to look away from, Sarah squeezing in the eyes of her attacker until they’re goo was only one. Good for her, but I couldn’t keep watching. The gore just kept coming. Some people may judge Sarah for what she did in one riveting scene. Me? I say her actions were practical.
There are a number of hold your breath moments, but one scene that stays with me is when they find a cave painting. This is the first time in perhaps ten thousand years or longer that human eyes have gazed upon this primitive drawing. There is something so lonely, awe-inspiring and terrifying about this. Realisation hits the viewer and the women, they are entirely alone down there.
Vivid, frightening, edge of your seat horror. *****
Who has seen this one? What did you think? How would you have dealt with Juno?