I stand by my words in saying that this film is the scariest British horror movie of all time, and simply one of the scariest horror films ever. I use the "of all time" a lot but I mean it when I say it, and The Descent fits that phrase so deservedly. The themes of survival, loss, family and courage all blend together to create a thrilling adventure.
Every essential ingredient for horror is here. Dread, claustrophobia, heart pounding shocks, a perfectly paced build-up, fear of the unknown and incredibly realistic, devoted performances from the best female lead cast starring Shauna McDonald, Natalia Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring and Nora-Jane Moore.
This exceptional female led cast play best friends on a caving expedition. After a rock collapse, they realise they are in uncharted territory where no one has ever been before. Events worsen and turn into a terrifying nightmare realising they are trapped and being pursued by a bloodthirsty subterranean breed of predators. It takes a good forty minutes before you get the first glimpse of what's lurking in the shadows, but before that glimpse director Neil Marshall expertly stirs dread layer by layer as the girls venture deeper and deeper.
If you're claustrophobic you'll have a tough time but even if you're not you'll still have a hard times sitting through the several tight moments of squeezing through gaps and tight crevasses. The Descent features one of my favourite scenes in a movie: Expedition leader Juno can't find a way out as there's no breeze indicating a through-route, then Rebecca screams out for help in the never-ending darkness, and as the night vision camera pans to Beth, a disfigured and horrific looking creature stands behind her, the girls scream and seperate and the survival game begins. The crawlers are without a doubt the most frightening and evil creatures in horror, they are relentless, realistic, animalistic and they sound terrifying.
What follows on from my favourite scene is a masterpiece story of survival and the lengths we will go to to live, there are moments that are both visceral yet hard on the emotions, and some nasty twists that crush all hope for the characters. I screamed out loud, swore in terror, yet was absolutely thrilled by this utter master in terror, you must watch The Descent.