October 15, 2010

The Descent (2005)

"A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators."

Since I'm just about to watch and review "The Descent: Part 2", I thought I'd pull the "Original Unrated Cut" of "The Descent" out to remind myself of why I didn't like it and hold no real hope for the sequel.

At the time it was released, I remember how I really wanted this to be good. Lots of claustrophic action and pretty women potholers menaced by CHUDs was something that I could definitely be entertained by but alas it was not to be. I didn't care about any of the overly feminist characters and just wanted them to be eaten as soon as possible especially when it didn't turn into the "boobs and blood" fest that I expected it to be.

Anyway, I watched it all again to see if any of the girls were less butch or annoying the second time around (or if I could understand any more of what they were mumbling to each other without using the subtitles). I think I gave it a fair chance even though I was still dreading the ridiculous non-ending which should have been chopped off it.

There were one or two good action scenes but the acting was appalling and the plot ran out of steam once the first CHUD was revealed. I mean, what's the point of watching any more of it after the surprise is given away? It was just another slasher movie from then on and I found it boring.

I still don't even know the names of any of the characters or actors except by looking them up on the IMDb because absolutely anybody at all could have been in their roles and it wouldn't have made much difference. Nobody stood out except the Irish lesbian with big teeth and that was only because of her enormous gnashers. There was just nothing here to sympathise with and that was a massive flaw. Unless you are into potholing or spelunking (or whatever the hell the correct term is), I don't think it's even possible to empathise with the situations presented here.

"The Descent" reminded me in places of the Denis Leary and Emilio Estevez film "Judgment Night" (1993) but set underground with CHUDs (instead of gangsters) and the most un-cavewise potholers ever to enter a cave (instead of the un-streetwise yuppies). I know that nothing is ever very original when it comes to the horror genre but the similarities in this case were far too many for me to put it out of my mind.

It wasn't the setting or the plot though but just the bad characterisation and silly monsters which ultimately ruined this film for me. I still can't get my head around how this made Neil Marshall famous for five minutes or why it still has such a high rating on the IMDb.

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