Halloween Scene: The Descent (2005)

I wanted to like The Descent, but it had a few things working against it. First off, I didn’t see it in the theaters which would have no only focused me on the movie, but also kept it dark and allowed me to get sucked into other people getting scared (like when I saw The Ring for the first time). As it was I had the lights on for the first 20 or so minutes because I was working on some tax stuff, which also took me away from the movie for a bit. I’m sure I missed some set-up stuff, but none of it seemed to really matter (not a good sign). And finally, back when the movie came out there was a big discussion at Wizard about whether this or Grandma’s Boy should be dubbed movie of the year. Even though my vote didn’t count, I was fully in favor of GB because, even though it was about video games, it really reminded me of what it was like to work at Wizard at times. Anyway, I think The Descent won out because it was a more genre-type movie even though Wizard had a strange and irregular relationship with horror. So, I was a little bitter I guess. I’m also a supported of director Neil Marshall on the awesomeness level that was Doomsday (I didn’t love Dog Soldiers and am ashamed to say I haven’t watched Centurion yet even though it’s on Netflix Instant).

I’ll take the blame for not getting to know the women who go down into the big hole to go spelunking or whatever. I was distracted and, I assumed after things were kind of rushed through, that it really wasn’t super important what these women were actually like. The important thing was that the obvious Final Girl (why else would they show us her family getting killed in the beginning?) and that other woman was pretty tough. I got confused as to who else was with who and where there were at any given time once it became clear that bad shit was happening to them. I can understand how the claustrophobic nature of a cave movie would make some peoples’ skin crawl, but I don’t think I made that connection because there’s no damn way you’d get me in a cave without drugging me first. That’s just crazy. Monsters live underground, duh. I’ve read comics, I don’t fall for that kind of nonsense. Some scary stuff still happened to them, but I was watching it from the outside and not living it with them.

It’s funny how we can absorb details about a film we’ve never seen. I’m guessing I’d seen both the trailer and the poster above which tipped me off to two important scenes. When the camera switched to night-vision I looked up from the computer (I had finished organizing papers and was just looking at blogs and whatnot by this point) because I knew it was time for that night-vision reveal of the monster after the main woman had seen something earlier. Later, when that same woman (or was it another one, it’s hard to tell when they’re covered in blood) landed in the pool of blood I thought “Oh, it’s that scene from the poster.” Both were followed by interesting confrontations between human and monster, but I just wasn’t into the movie enough by then and starting questioning way too much.

For instance, what’s the deal with those damn monsters? They look rad, I’ll give them that and their kills are cool looking, but I don’t get how they sense their surroundings. They’re blind like moles which makes sense, but how come their hearing hasn’t made up for their blindness to the point where they can hear a person breathing nearby or even a freaking video camera right in their face. Those things make noise, so do people. And why can’t they feel a body and realize it’s a living person?

It was questions like that that continued to keep me out of the movie and made me not care. I did like the fact that, while wrecking shop on a monster, that one woman accidentally killed one of her climbing buddies. Somehow the main blond found her still dying even though she got a pick axe through the jugular/throat and the dying woman informed her what happened. This added an extra dimension of conflict between the two survivors that ended in the exact manner I figured it would. Then you’ve got the SPOILER fake ending. Why would you imagine yourself getting in the car, driving to a certain point and then crying and puking? Wouldn’t your brain get you somewhere actually safe? Eh. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen and isn’t even bad by any means, it’s just not the kind of horror flick that captured my imagination. It is interesting that I compared Dog Soliders to Predator because it bugged me that the monsters in this movie sound way too much like Predators. That’s such a singular sound effect to me that it pulls me out of any movie that doesn’t have my favorite dreadlocked aliens.

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