The OtherArena Forum IndexThe OtherArena Forum IndexThe OtherArena Forum Index The OtherArena
"Best not to think about it. I know that's a problem for you... not thinking. " -Steve Yohe
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

My review of "The Descent"

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The OtherArena Forum Index -> Entertainment
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
RL



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: My review of "The Descent" Reply with quote

The horror genre has become home to innumerable hacks, but few masters.

From time to time, a few inspired moments of stylistic brilliance cause a film to stand out. Sometimes the sheer potential of a fresh idea is enough to elevate a less-than-spectacular work to prominence. For the most part, however, every two-bit amateur director thinks he or she can craft a horror movie and the video stores are overflowing with the stunted results of their frail attempts to truly frighten us. But every so often, a filmmaker comes along who not only truly knows what terrifies us, but also has the ability and resources to bring his or her vision to life on the screen.

Enter British writer/director Neil Marshall’s “The Descent,” the best horror film since 2002’s “The Ring” and an instant mainstay of the genre.

On the surface, the American release of Marshall’s 2005 effort doesn’t look remarkably different from any number of horror films that crawl and creep through theaters every year: a group of young people venture into an unexplored cavern and are soon fighting for their survival against unknown, inhuman assailants in the darkness. While the plot is not without a few inventive departures from the expected, it’s the kind of formula one comes to expect.

Marshall, however, following up his underground cult-hit “Dog Soldiers,” combines claustrophobic tension, pulse-pounding pacing, solid performances and a fantastic visual style to create a truly terrifying tour de force.

The film centers around Sarah (played by Shauna McDonald), who, having just lost her husband and young daughter in a brutal automobile accident, reunites with five friends for a caving expedition in the Appalachian Mountains. Still deeply haunted by her loss, the caverns begin to play on all her fears – well before the revelation that the six friends are not only trapped in uncharted caverns, but are also not alone.

Well in advance of any extraordinary happenings, the caverns of “The Descent” are already choked with claustrophobia and dread. The darkness and echoes play tricks on the eye and ear in a most realistic depiction of the kind of sensory deprivation one encounters under the surface. With these caves, Marshall creates the kind of primeval contested space that draws on what horror writer H.P. Lovecraft deemed the most powerful of human fears: the fear of the unknown.

“The Descent” gushes with such feelings of unease – of man encroaching on realms beyond his dominance or understanding, where every worst fear is possible in the dark. And such is the mastery of Marshall’s craft that the moviegoer is not just made to play witness to these fears – they become immersed in them.

“The Descent” is a film crafted with the understanding that less is more, that whatever we can imagine in those depths of subworld darkness is infinitely more frightening than anything we can create with CGI, makeup and lighting. And yet, all three of these elements are used with masterful success, implemented sparingly and skillfully when the ghoulish subworld denizens finally begin to reveal themselves to the film’s human characters. One would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of more skillfully executed celluloid monsters in modern cinema.

Marshall is the caliber of filmmaker who realizes that the most frightening thing in the world can be finding a lone, early 19th century climbing spike in the wall of an unmarked cave, that fear of the dark amounts to a kind of Jungian racial memory and that our own inner demons can be just as crippling as anything from depths of Hell.

A masterpiece of terror, “The Descent” hits all the right notes with spine-tingling, heart-racing clarity. See it at your own risk.

Grade: A

“The Descent” is rated R for strong violence/gore and language. It has a running time of 99 minutes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2905
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Agree Reply with quote

Your review sold a ticket. The night you posted it, I went. I agree with most of what you wrote, it's a very good horror film. I enjoyed it. Can't say I understood the sub-plot between the two women & I felt they didn't have a finish. They used the horror gimmick of things poping in to the frame too much. I don't mind it a couple times but they relied on the trick too much early & they used it as a finisher. I see it as cheap heat. But I agree with you & enjoyed the movie. The producers liked your review too because it sold a ticket. ***1/8---Yohe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2905
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject: Car on Car Reply with quote

The car accident scene was very well done.--Yohe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
RL



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome -- glad you enjoyed it.

The British version, incidently, has a different ending -- I understand one can see it on youtube, but I'm holding off to see it as part of the British cut of the film. A friend of mine claims to have a good rip of it.

~rl
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
captain~swing



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those crazy Brits already have two releases available,
the "Regular" and the "Special Edition".

I'm hoping that when it gets a US DVD release they
will just clone the SE version and give us that. They
cloned Shaun of the Dead exactly which was loaded
with "stuff".

Amazon.co.uk has the SE listed for cheaper than the
Reg. one right now so if you want to own the movie
on DVD and you've got a Region Free DVD player
that converts PAL to NTSC, or a set-up that makes
that happen, enjoy.

Be warned, before buying, that the US DVD release
might not suck.

~the captain, who purchased the orig. Italian Job and
Shaun of the Dead DVDs before they came out stateside...
and was bitten in the ass for it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The OtherArena Forum Index -> Entertainment All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
The OtherArena topic RSS feed 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group