VIDEO: The Descent (2005)

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Pass ’round the birthday cake, because this installment of the Cheap-Arse Film Review finds Cheapus watching The Descent, a film that may be as much about one woman’s decline into grief-induced madness as it is about Cannibalistic Albino Cavemen. And that’s a good thing.

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  • MichaelANovelli

    So, The Descent was…decent?

    • Liam Barrett

      … I actually just got that. Blimey I’m slow today.

  • StevePotter

    I think a five-star movie isn’t a “flawless” movie. It can be a horribly flawed movie (for example, I do consider The Dark Knight Rises a five-star film), but the important thing is this: Do you LOVE the movie? Does it make you FEEL in a way that other (potentially better) movies just can’t?

    I recently made a list of my favorite movies (I won’t post it here because it’s super long) and I made sure that I kept it to “five star films.” NONE of those movies are perfect. All of them have flaws, some of them MASSIVE (again, I refer you to The Dark Knight Rises), but those movies all had one thing in common: I was always invested, and I was always feeling what they wanted me to feel.
    “UHF” is on the list, despite it’s cliched storyline. But the story wasn’t what made UHF great, the jokes were, and the jokes ALL landed (which is a rare thing to find in ANY comedy). Jack Ketchum’s “The Girl Next Door” is definitely a controversial film for some, but it had an effect on movie that many movies never get, and it avoided being exploitative. It was tragic, and it didn’t thrill you because it wasn’t MEANT to thrill anyone. “The Emperor’s New Groove” may not be Disney’s most ambitious effort, but it does what it set out to do: It was a ridiculous comedy that always kept me laughing. “Fiddler on the Roof” may be a bit overlong, but it felt epic, and the acting and songs were universally wonderful. “1408” may not be the scariest horror film ever made, but it’s incredibly well-acted, with John Cusack giving simply one of my favorite performances in ANY movie. Exam (which, if you have Netflix, I highly recommend for Instant viewing) may have some pacing problems, but it’s central idea is just so intriguing and its characters are so great. The list goes on and on.

    Even “The Dark Knight Rises”, with its admittedly pretty bad first act, sometimes hokey acting and overuse of expository dialogue… even with all of that, I *still* consider it a five-star movie. It affected me in a way no movie ever has. I was *bawling* for the last five minutes or so. I’ve never cried so much in ANY movie that I have EVER seen. I was on the edge of my seat the entire climax, and Batman’s first confrontation with Bane literally took my breath away.

    A 5-star movie is not a “perfect” movie simply because no movie CAN be perfect, and if it IS perfect, that’s probably just because it didn’t take enough risks to be worthy of a 5-star rating. I don’t think you need to justify your 5-star ratings just because you can find some to many flaws in the film. No film should be scored from an objective standpoint alone. You should always take that into consideration first, and THEN ask yourself: How did this movie make me FEEL?

    Great review, by the way, and I’m not knocking you for not thinking “The Dark Knight Rises” is a 5-Star movie. I can’t wait to see the rest of the 5-Star movies you’ll be reviewing, and it’s nice to see you doing something you clearly care about. Sorry for the bit of a rant, I just tend to get really passionate when I talk about loving movies. I’m sure you can relate with that.

    Keep up the good work! You’re awesome.

    • Liam Barrett

      Don’t worry, I knw what it’s like to get passionate about these sorts of things. I did ENJOY The Dark Knight Rises, greatly so. I just found a few of the flaws dragged it down slightly.

  • edharris1178

    I dug this movie, though I do think Dog Soldiers is better.  Then again, I am a sucker for a good werewolf movie.

    • Liam Barrett

      Dog Soldiers really is SUCH a good film. I love watching it in a double feature with Evil Aliens for a good, anarchic slice of British genre goodness.

  • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

    This movie is easily one of my favorite horror movies, right up there with the original Halloween, The 4th Kind, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, The Ring, and the first Saw.  Genuinely well done pacing, good premise, and well acted.  I’d also give it 5 stars.  When I contrast it to a more modern trapped movie like the Ruins or Captivity, it just blows those two out of the water.  Plus it is better than the unintentional comedy movie, Phone Booth directed by Joel Schumacher.

    • Liam Barrett

      It’s been a while since I watched Phone Booth. I seem to remember enjoying it, but I may have been drunk at the time.

      Also I have Captivity around here somewhere to review…

    • Voyager 6

      Yeah well, all you really needed to say there was ‘Joel Schumacher’.  Makes the late lamented Tony Scott look like Francois Truffaut.

      • Liam Barrett

        I have to disagree here. Regardless of his Batman films (and I LIKE batman Forever), the man has made some GREAT films- The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Speechless, Tigerland… he’s a great filmmaker.

        • StevePotter

          Batman Forever, FTW!

        • The_Stig

          I wouldn’t put him on the level of Scorsese or anything, but he’s no hack. The Batman movies really kamikazed his reputation. 

  • PrinceVulpine

    NM has made four movies. The most recent was Centurion.

    • Liam Barrett

      Bollocks, I knew I missed one…

  • Rocha674

    I think that the film plays fair with the viewer: it teases the possibility that Sarah was the killer and the albino freaks were just in her head; but the film does play out in a straightforward manner: the ending – the U.K. one – shows Sarah alone, hallucinating her dead daughter, with the crawlers lurking around; Her escape and Juno’s ghost/corpse/zombie whatever, are the result of her mind trying to find a hope spot, before complete and utter mental breakdown. This I find to be a coherent intepretation, although there are others that are plausible, seeing as the film also offers clues for them. But it is just as you said: when we want to find something, we start seeing clues everywhere.

    • Liam Barrett

      You’re right, my only issue with the ending really is, after ninth ambiguous minutes, I almost just want someone to straight up TELL ME what’s happening. But I get the ending, and I get why people love it.

  • Connie333

    I love this film – it came out right in the middle of the London bombings though so it’s weird looking back on it as I saw it in Leicester Square when it first opened. It would have stuck in my mind anyway though – it’s a genuinely good horror film.
    Ah Juno – the two faced Roman god – get it? As soon as she gives the husband that look after the rafting you can tell nothing good will come of her.
    Haven’t seen the American ending, but I honestly like to think it’s played straight in the UK one.  She’s going to her “happy place” in her mind in the face of quite a horrible death (I’m ignoring The Descent 2 because  – ugh, why?) I can see the argument for the whole thing being a mental breakdown though.  I really love it because it’s one of the only (pretty much) all female ensemble films in the genre – no love interest really, no waiting to be saved by men with guns. They aren’t all likeable characters but knowing that there isn’t going to be a convienient rescue makes it so much scarier.
    Also I am never, ever going potholing.

    • Liam Barrett

      I had actually forgotten which God Juno was until you mentioned this. Everything kind-of makes sense now…