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Take the plunge with Neil Marshall’s The Descent, now streaming on Paramount+. This cave-set horror movie turned one thing of a cult hit within the mid-2000s because it unnerved the audiences who immersed themselves in its maelstrom of sound and light-weight on the massive display screen. But even diminished to a smaller display screen at dwelling or on the go, this film remains to be a standout within the style as a result of it’s rooted within the fundamentals of fine moviemaking: craftsmanship and characterization.


The Gist: After a whitewater rafting expedition leaves Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) on an journey excessive, life brings her crashing to a low level when her husband and daughter die in a tragic auto accident that she survives. Still reeling a yr later, she reunites with pals in an try to shut the space that has grown between them. Their spelunking journey takes them actually into a cave but additionally into themselves, particularly when the group chief Juno (Natalie Mendoza) reveals that she’s taken them into unknown and probably unsafe territory. As they attempt to make their escape by mysterious terrain, they discover that they don’t seem to be simply combating nature and one another – however the cave harbors a petrifying species of golem-like creatures they arrive to name “crawlers.” In order to outlive, confrontation with all these components turns into a necessity.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: A group of pals/collaborators who come collectively in a distant location and discover themselves battling off a supernatural drive that breaks their bonds? The John Carpenter vitality – assume The Thing — is powerful with this one. (The Evil Dead additionally involves thoughts.) The emotional stakes of a lady battling the grief of a misplaced youngster whereas additionally coping with the merciless twists of Murphy’s Law in an unforgiving terrain additionally make The Descent really feel like a subterranean model of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity.

Performance Worth Watching: Neil Marshall conducts fairly the ensemble in The Descent, nevertheless it’s Shauna Macdonald who stands out among the many forged. She’s given the emotional heavy lifting of transfiguring the trauma of her misplaced household into the stunning experiences within the cave. Without her grounding the more and more wild occasions in acquainted fears and emotions, your complete movie might have gone off the rails.

Memorable Dialogue: “This will not be caving, that is an EGO TRIP,” yells one of many girls as they understand the mess they’re in. As normal in a horror flick, the hazard comes from somebody’s hubris in assuming they’ll outwit nature and skirt the foundations in place for good purpose.

Sex and Skin: The cave creatures are unclothed if that’s your form of factor? In all seriousness, the one factor you’ll see piercing the pores and skin in The Descent is a bone protruding from a bloody leg.

Our Take: Neil Marshall mines the abject terror of being in an unfamiliar surroundings the place the foundations can change at any minute with brutal effectiveness. It’s an all-out gorefest with terrifying bounce scares and potent visuals, sure, however The Descent can be comfy wielding silence and stillness as highly effective weapons of concern. He additional destabilizes the viewers with aesthetic variations of sunshine, coloration, and picture supply. Marshall finds terrors within the texture, plunging the viewer into the identical state of confusion and volatility because the characters.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Over a decade and a half after its authentic launch, The Descent remains to be an enormously environment friendly supply of screams, scares, and scintillation. Neil Marshall is aware of there are not any shortcuts to the terrifying consequence he needs to realize, and he earns each second.

Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance movie journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has additionally appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, Little White Lies and lots of different shops. Some day quickly, everybody will understand how proper he’s about Spring Breakers.

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