Descent, The (2005) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Descent, The (2005)

Published

on

Starring Shauna MacDonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder

Directed by Neil Marshall


There are a lot of things to be afraid of, real and imagined, and I love the horror genre for showing it all off whether you want to look or not (and we all know you’re gonna look). I love horror for many reasons, one being that it reminds us fear isn’t always some diabolical creature conjured via intricate verse or born of the blood of virgins. Sometimes it’s simple and we remember that fear can be very basic.

Neil Marshall’s latest film delivers both ends of the fear spectrum… at the same time.

The journey of course begins above ground and what effectively ensures that The Descent continues to shine within its own darkness is its dual vision of fear. Exposing the all too real horrors that lurk right under our feet and within our minds, The Descent gleefully pushes us over the edge and directly into a ghastly, surrealistic nightmare that can only be compared to Hell itself.

Opening on an adrenaline high are Sarah, Beth, and Juno, thrill-seeking friends who brush up against death and peril for fun. The scene of these women whitewater rafting and looking almost insane with their excitement while Sarah’s husband and daughter look on is disturbing to say the least and helps set a tone for both hope and disaster. When a sudden horrific car accident claims the lives of Sarah’s family, she is severed from life, and the three friends become estranged.

Sarah’s personal loss is the first of several nightmares to unfold over the course of the movie, an incredibly important piece to the greater scheme. When you really consider that loss and morbidly ask yourself “what if that were me?” is when you’ll really start to understand the kind of terror The Descent has to offer because how many other answers outside of “I’d go crazy” are there?

One year later Sarah is traveling to the US with Beth to reunite with Juno and three more women equally interested in adventure, and this year’s thrill is caving. The manic, careening drive to the cave marks the movie’s second beginning and keeps the momentum going, generating more uneasiness while adding a shroud of dread to the imminent exploration.

At this point the women are still coasting on hope, a group effort to close gaps and maybe recapture some of what was lost when Sarah’s husband and daughter were killed. Turns out it’s only a mere alcohol prep before the high grade goods are mainlined directly into your bloodstream where they’ll run a gamut of emotions including apprehension, optimism, suspicion, terror, and, finally, simultaneous despair, triumph, and defeat.

While The Descent certainly utilizes plenty of things you might tell yourself to look for in a movie set within a cave, don’t expect any real predictability as it won’t make much of a difference whether you saw something coming or not. Anything you might be picking out moments before is just padding for the visceral goods. Suffocating scenes which prove all too well that the dark is indeed still scary and claustrophobia is a very effective sympathetic fear. I also want to emphasize how excellent the score is and how much of an integral part it plays in amplifying the tone of each scene. It’s perfectly tuned: graceful one minute, despairing the next.

And just when you might begin to think that there’s too much realism going on, be prepared to hearken back to what I said earlier. Remember what may or may not have lurked in your childhood darkness, around your bed, and outside the protection of your blankets.

Remember “when” and be grateful for the splendid occasion when this genre that I love so much quietly creeps up on you while you’re busy marveling at the hideous face of reality and screams directly into your blood-drained face before ripping it clean off.

4 out of 5

Discuss The Descent in our forums!

Continue Reading
Comments

News

Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

Published

on

We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

Continue Reading

Reviews

Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

Published

on

Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film
2.0

Summary

Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

Published

on

Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

Sending
User Rating 5 (2 votes)
Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC