The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)


A neatly written, well acted horror film that operates fully on the “girls to the front” ethos, The Descent would be excellent, if it weren’t for the fact that it isn’t in the slightest bit scary. Annoying as it is, the film’s noble intention to showcase regular female badassery renders the encounters with the vampire-esque monsters much more like an action film than a horror film, complete with frankly stupid Bourne Identity-reminiscent rapid editing techniques that completely alienate the spectator from any form of empathic involvement in the panic and fear these characters are supposed to be, reasonably, feeling as they are trapped underground, sharing space with bloodthirsty creatures unlike anything they’ve seen before. The psychological aspects of the protagonist Sarah’s potentially self-destructive emotions, surrounding the death of her family are referenced sporadically enough to consider them little more than a half-hearted afterthought to the narrative at large, and the whole experience comes across as rather sub-Whedon-esque. Enjoyable and exciting viewing, complete with decent monsters, but little substance under a variable style.



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