Sunday, August 13, 2006

Horror Fans, Hell, Movie Fans In General, Rejoice And Go See THE DESCENT

I don't mean to sound all geeky and shit when I right this next sentence, but here it goes. "The Descent" is fucking awesome. I'm pretty sick of the term "Balls to the Wall Horror," but I can't think of a better way to describe this film. Maybe "Claustrophobic and Riveting" as I've read in some reviews. That would work as well. Whatever you want to call it, it's a great horror movie; hell, this is just a great movie.

Sure, how could a movie about some women going spelunking and running into some mutant hillibillies be that groundbreaking. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is. This movie is scary; this movie is really fucking scary. And it's not so much the mutant hillbillies as it is the cave itself. The cave is a stroke of genius, and the way director, Neil Marshall (More on him in a sec), shoots all of the confined spaces that these ladies find themselves in is, well, "Claustrophobic and Riveting." Once they realize they are trapped in the cave, you'll feel like you're trapped in there with them. The mutant hillbillies just provide yet another disturbing obstacle for these ladies to get through.

I love when filmmakers and writers up the ante like this. I really do. I also love when they actually take the time to develop the characters at the beginning of the film, so you actually give a damn whether they live or die. That's what Marshall does here. We get almost a good half an hour to be with these women before they make the descent, and it's well worth it. Unlike a movie like say last year's "The Cave," which has no real similarities except that it took place in a Cave. Saying this is just like "The Cave" is like saying I'm not going to watch "Jaws" because I've seen "Orca," and it looks the same but with a shark instead of a whale.

I really liked Neil Marshall's first film, 2003's "Dog Soldiers." It was a variation on Predator with werewolves instead of aliens, and it was a hell of a lot of fun. Not too many people have seen that film, but once they see this one, I hope they check it out. But even has much as I liked that film, I didn't realize how much of a find this guy was. I hope after "The Descent," some studios take a chance on this guy because he can do for genre pictures, what people like Speilberg have done in the past. I know it sounds like I'm overpraising the guy, and after many of you see this you might still think that. But, I think this guy is going to be around for awhile, and we'll all be happier for it.

I really love the way Marshall shot this thing. He even takes away the little things that bug me in a lot of movies like this. "Fake Light," as I like to call it is a staple of the horror genre. You know where people are in a really dark place, but we can see an ass ton of things that they can't. In "The Descent," Marshall only lets us see what the characters can see. He uses neat set-ups like a video camera that the ladies' bring with them, their helmet lights, a torch one of the character's makes, etc. Little things like this show a filmmaker that pays attention to detail. It's like watching a Tarantino film where you can tell he went over every inch of the film with a fine tooth comb; Marshall does the same thing here.

Everyone has been well casted here; it's a group of british unknowns at least in the states. But, like "Blair Witch Project," that only adds to the realism. These just seem like real people; we don't have Julia Stiles and Cameron Diaz climbing over the rocks. We've got Claire, Beth, Judo, and so on. There are scenes in this movie that are going to make you jump out of your seat, and there are scenes that you'll just be sitting there wanting to cover your eyes, but you just can't because you've got to know what happens. There's all kinds of different scares up in here.

In the critic's quotes they have been printing like mad, this movie has been compared to "Jaws" and "Alien." While, I don't think it's as good as those two movies, I understand the comparison. Those were movies that jumpstarted and transcended the genre. Other films have done that as well in the horror realm. "Night of the Living Dead," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Halloween," "The Blair Witch Project." In the years to come I believe "The Descent will be talked about in the same way. I hope you guys go see this, and I hope you have as much fun with it as I did.


Post a Comment

<< Home