Friday, 29 July 2011

The Descent

Even the poster creates suspense...    TheCinemaSource
The Descent, released in July 2005, is a British horror film directed by Neil Marshall that follows six women who go spelunking in an unexplored cave in North Carolina. I suspect I'm giving nothing away when I reveal that things don't go entirely to plan... The film was a critical success, scoring 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and being placed 7th in Sight & Sound's end-of-year top ten list. is, however, once again a haven for those with no taste whatsoever, nor any kind of reviewing ability.
So. Here. We. Go:
First off everyones entitled to their opinion so I find it bizarre as to why their are so many people obviously like the film trawling negative reviews simply to slate anyone who dislikes it (Maybe it's why they don't like it that people dislike? Or the quality of the review. Or the fact that many, who will be featured later, treat their opinions as fact?). These people are WRONG the one star reviewers are RIGHT (Yeah. What you've certainly not done there is exactly what you just complained about...). This film is ridiculous (No more than most other films. You know that Dumbo? I don't think an elephant could use his ears to fly...). I felt rather embarrassed for the person who decided to comment smarmly by saying to the reviewer: 'My advice is to concentrate when you watch an intelligent adult film or even better stick to films more suited to your age group.' (I suspect he's right. This is an intelligent film for adults.). They've got themselves a wee bit mixed up here and its backfired massively...Its a borderline B-movie, it not supposed to be 'an intelligent adult film' neither was Dog Soilders, thats what made it so good (Dog Soldiers was absolutely not to be taken seriously. But just because they share a director does not mean that this film is equally frivolous. This is a straight-up horror and works as such. [slight SPOILER coming up here] I take it you missed the end bit where the women become as bad as, or worse than, the crawlers? Butchering them horribly, killing their young and sticking thumbs in eye-sockets is pretty nasty. Not many horror films have the guts to turn the heroines against each other and into murderous monsters themselves.). An intelligent adult decision would be to use the DVD as a coaster matt for your pint. (No, that would be a silly thing to do. Surely a specifically designed coaster would do the job far better...)
Jokes aside (Don't become a stand-up.). This is a poor effort (Except it just isn't, though, is it? It does exactly what it intends to do. Scare.). In fairness, the claustrophobic atmosphere created is not bad (Not bad? That goes beyond understatement, and into the realms of stupidity.) and the films grittyness is appealing. Why one star then? (Because you're a fool who wouldn't know a good film if he walked in on one fucking a version himself from a different universe?)
1. The premise has been done to death (What? The only one similar I can think of is the pretty shite Sanctum which came out this year...) so any new attempt has to be very unique and different (Different from what you utter arse? It's not like there's a cave-based horror released every day!). There's just nothing new here (All-female cast? Cave-based terror? Strong acting? Believable monsters?). I was pretty much spot on with the order of who would die before they'd even entered the cave. (You could guess who'd die, but you can do that with any horror.)
2. If you've seen "The Cave" you don't need to watch this. They were more adventurous in their filmaking and did it better, and that's saying something. (Excuse me? First of all, The Cave came out a month after this. And second of all, it was utter bilge. At 13% it is amongst the worst films of 2005. If you think that is better than The Descent, then you are clearly one ball short of an over.) 
3. The plot's ludicrous (It's not that ludicrous. It's a horror film. There is such a thing as 'willing suspension of disbelief'. I'd suggest you'd give it a go.). Without giving too much away, who on earth goes down an uncharted cave system without any map (I believe you rather answered your own question there. The word 'uncharted' means that there is no map for them to take. Fucktard.), back up, safety failsafe and the excuse as to why is crazy (Not really. It was certainly a silly thing to do, but it fitted in well with the character.). Why would you then split up and continue to go deeper after being attacked? (They ran and panicked. One of them fell down a hole. They didn't split up on purpose. Did you even watch the bloody thing?) The ending, a totally unnecessary twist which, which makes zero sense and has no right to be there. (It made sense. [SPOILER] She'd been hallucinating a fair bit, so having cracked her head against the rock floor, it wasn't a surprise she did it again.)
4. Its blatantly obvious its filmed in Scotland not the US. (Actually, it wasn't filmed in Scotland either, so clearly wasn't that obvious... It was filmed in Pinewood Studios, near London with exteriors filmed in a park in Buckinghamshire. So quite far from Scotland really...)
5. Its only really about two people, the other characters are simply their for gore value, which is pretty cheap as you have no empathy for them (This is pretty standard for horror films though. It's very hard to flesh out all the characters without the film becoming bloated and overly long. Besides, this film does somewhat more for its supporting cast than most modern Hollywood horror fare, with the slashers and torture-porn genres particularly badly affected.). The main two main characters relationship is daft and very confusing, I might have caught Juno looking at Sarah's husband at the start for all of about 2 seconds and I think this has something to do with their fractured relationship (It's explained you ignorant prick. You really didn't listen did you? And their relationship seemed realistic and understandable considering the events that shape it.). The problem is for a film like this to work it has to be really character driven and the script's so weak, there's nothing for the actors to flesh out. (The script as as good as it needed to be. There was no exposition-heavy dialogue as far as I can remember, with pretty natural conversations between the characters both prior to the adventure and during.)  
Neil Marshall did so well with Dog Soilders and its a great idea to be different (as mentioned) (This film is original) and have an all women cast, who do the best with the little they've got (They all did very well with the good material they received.). Its a shame its badly let down by a daft script and story and shallow characters. (What was it you said earlier? Ah yes, '[you've] got yourself a wee bit mixed up here and it's backfired massively'. Oh, the glorious irony.)
Here's a somewhat shorter review now:
This film starts off ok for about the first 5 minutes (If the next words aren't 'then gets even better' or somesuch, I'm going to hurt you.), then by the end of the film the starting has practically no relavence at all (Actually, it is massively important. How did you miss that? And now I'm going to have to hurt you. I'm sorry, but I warned you...). Amazingly bad acting (Except the acting was uniformly strong, creating believable characters who could exist in the real world.) and for people that have already seen the film (trying not to give too much away) (You pretty much fail. so major SPOILERS up ahead.) i have to ask you, why does she take her freinds leg out at the end?? it was an accident wasnt it? hmmm... (Several things. Firstly, she didn't see the incident, so she knew only what Beth had told her. Beth believed that it was not an accident, therefore neither did Sarah. Secondly, Beth told Sarah that Juno had been having an affair with Sarah's late husband, so she was pretty mad about that as well. And then there is that it was Juno that led them down the cave in the first place, so there was probably a bit of blame thrown in there too.) but i really wouldnt reccomend this film to any one (Really? I would. I already have in fact.)
 Here, have another!:
Get grip people! This is terrible (I'll get a grip on your neck if you're not careful. If you think this is terrible then you aren't intelligent enough to deserve life...). Dull locations (The cave looked pretty spectacular in places. Especially at the start looking up through the hole.), 50 mins of tedium (The first 50 minutes were superb. The build-up of tension was excellent with some standard cave-based scares, like rock collapses ratcheting up the tension very well.) before the laughable monsters appear (In what way are they laughable? They look realistic and could feasibly exist.) and NO suspense at all! (If by 'suspense' you mean 'clowns', then yes. There weren't any clowns in the first 50 minutes. Or indeed any of the minutes. There was suspense though...) The creatures are feeble and not at all scary (Well the creatures on their own aren't scary, but then neither would pretty much anything else. Alien's Xenomorph wouldn't be scary if it was on its own in the middle of a brightly lit ice-rink. But in combination with the dark location of the cave, the crawlers are pretty scary.) and the location is dull beyond belief (Yeah you said that already, and I already said you were wrong.). This is a really awful film (That'll be why Sight & Sound felt it was the seventh best film of the year then... God, that must have been a shit year eh?). Dog Soldiers was great fun but this is pretentious drivel (It is neither pretentious, nor drivel. This review is drivel. The film really isn't.). I have NEVER been so bored in a film (You clearly have no idea what makes a good horror film then. I suggest you stick to films that give horror cinema a bad name, like Saw and Hostel.). BAD, BAD and bad again (And yet the only thing you can complain about is the 'dull' location and the 'feeble' creatures. Twice. Talking about two things twice, doesn't make a review I'm afraid...). The cast were average (Well, if comparing them against Daniel Day-Lewis I suppose...) and the plot motivation was just completely unbelievable from every angle (What? She wanted to discover a new cave. People actually do that you know. That's how caves are discovered...). Lazy script, lazy film. (And you're a stupid man.)
That's enough for now, I think. Till next time children!

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