Horror Movie Review: The Descent 1 and 2
One of the many observations that I’ve made since I joined as a Splurker a few millennia ago is this: Blogging and Review series have become as much a component of everyday-Sparklife as the Punishment Salmon, Gary’s comment-eating, and the Writers Wars. Usually, these blogs are the spawn of pro-Sploggers like Dan Bergstein or Scott Free. Considering I’ve never so much as sent a standalone article in before, this series is a big step forward for me.
Luckily, I don't think anyone has done a review series on horror films before, so you have nothing to compare it to.
Now, I don’t doubt that there’s a sub-community of Sparklers who sit reading Sparklife with “Youtube: SAW’s top 20 best death traps” open in a second tab, drooling. But for the rest of us, it’s not quite so easy...which is what gave me the idea for this series. Due to the fact that most of my friends are hardcore horror fanatics, I’ve slowly been drip-fed a diet of gruesome movie deaths and paranormal hauntings over the past few years. It’s gotten to the stage now where I can watch The Human Centipede without using up the world’s supply of sick bags, which is really saying something.
Which is why, for the sakes of the more easily frightened amongst you, I’m going to watch the films that both intrigue and terrify you—FOR you—so that you know what you’re getting yourself into before you stick that DVD in your disc drive. Of course, a few details—such as the Director’s name, since there are some of you out there who appreciate such facts—will be from the likes of good ol’ Wikipedia, but the rest of it will be my own interpretation. A mixture of Sparkler suggestions and whatever I can get my hands on will determine what comes next in my hit list. Now would probably be a good time to mention that there will inevitably be a plethora of spoilers.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, here's...
The Descent 1 and 2
Summary: A woman named Sarah loses both her husband and young daughter in a car collision. A year later, a group of her friends arranges a caving expedition in the naive belief that an adrenaline rush will help her overcome her lingering depression. Little do they know that this particular cave system has never been explored before, so nobody knows about the race of Gollum-like creatures that start hunting them down one by one. In the second film, a search party heads into the same system to track down the girls, only to meet pretty much the same fate.
Opinion: Apparently, this duo by Neil Marshall rate as two of the best British Horror Films ever, which is what initially attracted me to them. Beyond a few of the main characters and production team, though, there isn’t much that cries "British" about it: it’s set in the Appalachian mountains and some of the main cast members don't have an accent. Both films did live up to my expectations in terms of providing scares and tension, though. Before we go any further, I have to say: these aren’t films for anyone who’s just beginning to explore the genre. It’s not the most clever film I’ve ever seen, but by staging it in a enclosed space and having all the light provided by only headlamps and flares, Marshall created a very tense environment. The first film has a nearly all female cast, which is something that you rarely see, even if this element was lost in the second film.
Gore element: Let’s put it this way: you have to watch a girl screaming as her broken leg bone is forced back into her body in the first film. The gore starts after only a few minutes, so be prepared. The death scenes are graphic, and at some points the characters even turn on one another which means even more gore. Down in the caves, the expedition teams are exposed to the feral hunting tactics of the crawlers, a bed of half-eaten carcasses, and a murky pool of crawler-excrement. Draw your own conclusions.
Psychological element: Apart from a scene in which Sarah is in a hospital corridor where the lights start to flicker and fade, there isn’t much in the way of traditional psychological horror on show. The death scenes leave little to the imagination and are more about creeping you out with vast amounts of bloodshed than leaving you wondering what the Crawlers are capable of. The closest it comes to mentally confusing is Sarah’s psychosis—in the first film she hallucinates her escape from the caves and something weird about blowing out candles. To be honest, the films would probably be just as good without this.
Ultimate Spoiler: Nobody lives. Unless you count the creepy lift-operator and the Crawlers themselves.
Recommendations: It’s definitely not for anybody who suffers from claustrophobia or is about to go caving. Watch it with the lights down and curtains drawn to achieve full immersion.
Post by Caught-in-a-snowstorm!
Do you love horror films? Are you ready for this new series?