The Descent

Last night I went to see this really creepy movie called The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005). When it was released about a month ago, it looked like a cheap b-grade kind of horror movie. It’s also a British movie, and so I thought I would have to deal with the accent as well. However, it’s made by the same director who made Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall), and that was an ace movie. Another British horror movie, 28 Days Later was also a great movie. So, I checked up on the reviews and they were astoundingly positive, and I decided to part with my dhs30.

In short: exhilarating, suspense, tension and a whole lot of screaming.

Last night was the first time where I actually heard general screaming across the theaters. My experience was made all the more wonderful with a really cute Saudi couple who were sitting next to me. They had arrived a bit late, and since the cinema was packed full, they found empty seats next to me. It was somewhat cool to see the couple, with the woman completely covered from head to toe, gloves and all, and the husband with a long beard. I rarely see such couples in movie theatres, let alone a scary one. It was also somewhat amusing to see the woman removed her glove, face covering and loosening her head scarf. I guess she was getting prepared for the eventual scary experience.

The movie is basically about 6 girl friends, who go on a mountain trip somewhere in the US. One of the girls is aware of the underground caves, and so they all decide to discover new unexplored areas. Once down there, they progress from chamber to chamber, through some of the tightest passageways. These moments were horrifically claustrophobic, and made extremely uncomfortable viewing, as I am a claustrophobic too. There was a lot of suspense and tension, and it was visible with people fidgeting in their seats. One of the girls thinks she sees something underground there, and it turns out that there are “crawlers” in there. Soon, they are faced with hidden, unknown “crawlers” in there, and the more they attempt to get out, the deeper they go into the caves. The “crawlers” are really creepy, and they are genuinely scary.

It’s a brilliantly made, very believable horror movie. No cheap gimmicks or thrills. No stupid nonsense scene. The director had done a marvelous job on playing with our fear of the darkness and the unknown. Confining the movie to an underground cave made it a very claustrophobic experience, which in turn made it scary. The scary scenes were truly terrifying, and the eventual gore and madness that ensued literally scared the wits out of the people. I felt so bad for the woman next to me, who constantly tugged at her husband’s arm, and screamed out probably more times than I jumped out of my seat. Some covered their faces, other’s completely turned away. Generally guys and girls were jumping out of their skins. I am a fan of horror movies, and usually I am not creeped out by them, but The Descent gave me the creeps. The oohs and aahs increased more and more as we neared towards the end, as if it were leading up to a crescendo.

I won’t tell you the ending, but this movie was one of the better horror movie I had seen in a while, and it should be seen in a totally dark theatre with surround sound. Bring on the DVD!

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