"The Descent" (2005) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #72 Gem Mint 10.0

“The Descent“ (2005)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall

Starring: Natalie Mendoza, Shauna Macdonald, MyAnna Buring, Alex Reid, Nora-Jane Noone, Saskia Mulder

Rated: R for strong violence/gore and language

Runtime: 1h 39min

Genre: Adventure, Horror, Thriller

Country: UK | France

Language: English

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

You might like this if you like: Horror, Thrillers, Caves, Rock Climbing, Adventures, Action, Suspense, Badass Women, Zombies, Vampires, Monsters, Neil Marshall('s work), Natalie Mendoza, Shauna Macdonald, MyAnna Buring, Alex Reid, Nora-Jane-Jane Noone, Saskia Mulder

Cast of "The Descent" (2005)

Growing up I wasn’t big in horror movies. Mostly referring to before I was a teenager. For some reason, I remember seeing trailers for the “The Descent” and having an urge to watch it. Maybe I was getting into my vampire phase (even though it’s not vampires) or maybe just getting into my horror phase. Point is, I remember “The Descent” being one the early ones. It was definitely a blockbuster re-rental for me.

Natalie Mendoza in "The Descent" (2005)

I wasn’t familiar with any of the actors involved but I’m fascinated that I was able to distinguish what I think’s a pretty damn good horror movie at such a young age. Group of badass female girls as your entire cast. When do you ever get that in your horror movies? It just seemed ahead of its time. Something this generation would devour more than I felt it did when it actually came out in 2005.

It has one the most unique settings in a horror film for me. A distinct location that inherently breeds fear. It’s the perfect setup that gets half the work done for the genre you’re working in. The use of lighting (and lack of lighting) in that cave was brilliant.

Natalie Mendoza (left) & Shauna Macdonald (right) in "The Descent" (2005)

Getting to see this sort of sports/extreme sports world collide with the horror genre was really great to see. I’m not at all involved in any sort of rock climbing or cave exploring but just as an observer and fan of the genre it kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Descent" (2005)

Overall it was just a fun thrill ride with an exciting new setting. Great group of characters and wonderfully executed, especially how they lit that set/location. Goes down as one of my earliest modern horror favorites.

Written by Sam Gall on 10/10/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"Super-scary and vicious, both psychologically and physically, this cleverly produced chill-ride is edgy British horror at its very best." - Alan Jones, Radio Times

"The Descent is already unusual for being a horror movie with an all-female cast, but it's even more unique for being the kind of movie that explores the damage caused by a friend's betrayal." - Eliza C. Thompson, Cosmopolitan

"'Deliverance' with alpha-female spelunkers instead of macho men, set in caverns rather than on an endangered river, Neil Marshall's intense, bloody, emotionally viscid [movie] is a neatly elegant bite of malicious terror." - Ray Pride, Newcity

"The movie unfolds in a satisfying slow-burn that makes you feel uneasy until it takes that anxiety and turns it into pure nightmare fuel by making your worst fears real." - Karl Delossantos, Smash Cut Reviews

"An all-female cast, a claustrophobic cave setting draped in red light, and an anarchic, vicious fight to the death...need I say more about one of the most physically taxing movies of the century?" - Sean Fennessey, The Ringer

Official Trailer:

Part 1 of 4 of Behind the Scenes:

Available on various VOD platforms

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