The Descent (2005)

Written & Directed by: Neil Marshall


Shawna Macdonald .... Sarah
Natalie Jackson Mendoza .... Juno
Alex Reid .... Beth
Saskia Mulder .... Rebecca
MyAnna Buring .... Sam
Nora-Jane Noone .... Holly

Release Dates: Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Films (Belgium): March 11, 2005; Dead by Dawn Horror Film Festival (UK): July 6, 2005; München Fantasy Filmfest: August 1, 2005; Venice Film Festival (Italy): September 10, 2005; Lund Fantastisk Film Festival (Swedin): September 19, 2005; Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival (Italy): Octpber 4, 2005; Dinard Festival of British Cinema (France): October 7, 2005; French Speaking region (Switzerland): October 12, 2005; Italian Speaking region (Switzerland): October 21, 2005; V 24 Hour Movie Marathon (New Zealand): October 25, 2005; Night Visions Film Festival (Finland): October 30, 2005; Iik!! Horror Film Festival (Finland): November 4, 2005; German Speaking region (Switzerland): November 10, 2005; Sundance Film Festival (USA): January, 2006; Philadelphia International Film Festival: April 2, 2006; Waterfront Film Festival (USA): June 10, 2006; US & Canadian Theatrical: August 4, 2006; Espoo Film Festival (Finland): August 23, 2006











A family returns from a river raft ride and then a tragic car accident occurs leaving one survivor named Sarah (Shawna MacDonald).
A year passes and Sarah as well as a group of her friends go up to the woods in a cabin. Sarah still has nightmares about the tragic accident but the next day they decide to hike to a mountain cave to explore different things there led by Juno.
Suddenly they are caved in and try to find a way out. It's suddenly very quiet and they discover other stuff in they cave as they realise someone else was once there.
One of their friends named Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) falls into a hole and severely damages her leg.
They discover skeletal bones in the cave as well and then are attacked by these predatory flesh eating cave crawler that can only sense their surroundings by sound.
They suddenly eat and kill each of Sarah's friends causing the rest to separate as they battle these crawlers while finding a path to escape and then Sarah realises Juno has had a dark secret about her and her late husband as well causing their friendship to turn sour.


An impressive beginning as we spot the lead character Sarah talking to her husband as things are good and still while driving in their vehicle which looked good and calm and offered perfect shocking timing with a vehicle crashing into their with pipes from it crashing through their windows breaking the silence and perfectly disturbing whiile watching this and making you jump out of your seats big time.
Great attention grabber when we spot Sarah waking up in a hospital and is devastated while running in the hospital to find out what had happened which was well done. We also spot dream sequences with a birthday cake involving her daughter as this looked perfectly silent and still and was used in other segments of the film.
perfect uplifting scene with the group of friends in the cabin and one of their friends waking them up for the big day as this looked good and natural by what happens here making you want to join in on the situation since all of this was done naturally.
Many great silent and good shots on them rock climbing inside the cave as well as spotting risky moments making you watch carefully on what goes on as well as spotting a hook that was old leaving a clue someone else had been there as well as outside of the cave dioscovering a dead buck which adds more mysterious moments on the things living in the caves which makes you excited to find out what kinds of terrors will be unleashed later on.
A perfect suspenseful moment on Sarah trapped in a croner of the cave and not able to move with her friend Beth trying to give her confidence and to help her which looked nicely done as well as a sound of an avalanche happening which gives you the chills imagining that you're in a sticky situation and have to move fast. This was perfectly put into the story.
We also have a perfect suspenseful scene with Holly falling into a dark pit in which she doesn't respond when her friends call to her as this is a nice sign that somethings wrong which gives you the chills. Also perfect moments with what we reveal on what happened to Holly and her mangled leg as this is painful to watch imagining on what she has to go thbrough and her friends trying to help along with realising they're in a pit full of skeletal bones which adds a nice touch to the story. Also another great perfect touch is when Sarah spots an object a distant away staring at her and then running off which looked well shot and perfectly put into the story along with her telling the others by what she saw.
Nice fast shots on these monsters attacking as well as others getting killed and good close up shots on what is happening to everyone.
Nice dark shot on Sarah trying to keep quiet with some of her surviving friends and the creatures lurking around her as well as them spotting their eyes and figuring out as to how they sense that someone is near which looked good. Plus some upsetting moments when one of them sees their friend dying which was strongly put in. We also spot an unpleasant situation when Sarah falls into a pool of blood surrounded by skeletal bones looking like she's drowning and you wonder if she will rise up as there's a good camera shot looking down with the bubbles flying around.
Perfect confrontation between both Sarah towards Juno as this looked quite powerfully done and getting a feeling something good won't turn out of this.
Then near the end some perfectly concentrated shots on Sarah trying to dig out of the cave and the moments she goes into her vehicle as you wonder if something is going to happen in which the moments will make you jump right out of your seat and then it teases you that this isn't really happening at all.
Bottom line is that this was a very well done film which wasn't a surprise that it had a huge success in film festivals over a year before receiving a theatrical release. When you first watch the film you think to yourself there's going to be a terrifying surprise later on and there is but once the terrifying events happen it doesn't seem to go anywhere after that sadly. Still it's quite scary and worth a try watching it. The makers put alot of money into this and deserve a pat on the back regardless.

The acting is great. Shawna MacDonald (Sarah) is excellent playing the grieving family woman who finds out she was the only one who survived her deadly car wreck and breaking down into an emotional wreck which looked believeable. Also does a good job acting bothered by her past as well as getting anxious when trapped in an area of a cave as she shows great anxiety. Also does a nice job with her aggressions and fearsome behavior when the terror strikes her. Plus does well breaking down and acting upset near the end of her performance letting it all out. She deserves a gold star.
I also loved
Natalie Jackson Mendoza (Juno) in which she really springs into action and acting full of life when waking everyone up for the big day which was energetically performed with her doing all of this. Also does a great job with her aggressions especially when she battles these creatures showing them no mercy along with some great aggressive expressions too and she is another natural character actress.
I thoroughly enjoyed Alex Reid (Beth) as the one, especially when she tries to calmsomeone down when she is trapped in a cave and encouraging her to overcome her fear and acting full of life while doing this which shines off perfectly and can be very memorable to anyone who saw her perform like this. She also added some nice humor to when she speaks to her online friends too as she was very lifelike within this. Also does a nice job acting timid and emotionally scared when the terrors strike as she offers a perfect versatality within all of this.
Nora-Jane Noone (Holly) really showed off her supporting role very effectively and also does well with her no nonsense type of behavior along with acting tough about stuff and convincing as someone who likes to speak her mind. She comes across perfectly onto the screen as one of the courageous types on the suspenseful matters. Does well acting in pain when she's in a terrible situation as well as hollering in pain too when someone tries to fix her leg adding some nice intensity and really drawing into this adding a perfect punch to whatever she had to do here.
Everyone in this film performed very professionally well.

A metal pipe is stabbed through a mans head.
A womans leg is severed showing her bones.
There are rotting corpses and a big pool of blood.
Creatures are tearing the flesh off of people.
Yup lots of gore in this one.

David Julyin is terrific with his music bring it a real punch to the screen as the music really makes a movie regardless. Alot of intense trombone playing sounding high pitched all coming in together which keeps you in suspense watching the screen while this is all playing. Also alot of airy sounds and hissing effects too. Plus there's neat clear spacey type synthesizer playing which works in terrifically. Also alot of low and deep keyboard music making the dark scene's in the cave look perfectly gloomy. Plus we have alot of echoey intense drum playing too sounding perfectly strong and very much out there.

Holly: [Sarah has just been scared by a bunch of bats which attacked her. Holly films the bats flying away]
[in imitation of 'The Count' from Sesame Street]
Holly: One bat, two bats, fifty bats!
[Beth comes up to her]
Beth: Holly... Fuck off

Sam: Trying to set this watch is impossible, the buttons are to fucking small.
Holly: Why do you wear that thing anyway ?
Sam: My boyfriend gave it to me, it's sentimental.
Holly: It's fucking mental, any guy who'd give that to me i'd dump him on the spot.

Juno: Sam's gonna be doctor Van Ney in like a year's time.
Beth: please tell me it's longer than that.

Beth: [Sarah is trapped in a tunnel and Beth is trying to calm her down with a joke] Hey, you love this one, "How do you give a lemon an orgasm?" You tickle its citrus!

Holly: Hey, there's something down here...

Juno: [while fighting a crawler] Fucker!

Beth: I'm an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider.

Sarah: What about you Holly, got a man ?
Holly: Oh I'm a sports fuck like Juno.

Rebecca: The noise she's making, she'll bring every one of those things down on her head.
Sam: As long as it's not on mine.

[Terrified, looking at Sarah who's covered in blood]
Juno: What happened to you?