johnlink ranks THE DESCENT (2005)

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and watch a movie. Two weekends of shows and a wedding to plan… who has the time? Anyway, I got home late and saw that my old trusty pal FEAR NET on demand had a movie I’ve been wanting to see in HD. So I turned on THE DESCENT. I was mostly satisfied. One moment almost ruined the film for me, but I walked away with a mostly positive impression.

THE DESCENT is a film about a group of women who set out to explore a cave. They find a lot more than they expected (i.e. inbred monstrous humanoids).

I watched THE DESCENT (2005) on 3.26.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

Without hesitation, I can say that this is one of the most beautifully shot horror movies I can remember. The care taken in the visuals is spectacular. But more on that later. When I started these rankings I said that one of the criteria on how to rank a ‘film’ has to do with themes and effectiveness of story.  I will be as spoiler free as possible here, but there is a moment near the end wherein a character does something that completely threw me off guard. It didn’t gel with what we had learned of these characters, and it really took me out of the end of the movie. You’re supposed to root for your heroes, and from that moment on, I did not. Maybe it was a clever ploy to question what we perceive from an audience perspective as ‘heroic’, but instead it pulled me out of the enjoyment of the film. There was a similar moment, in terms of story, in PITCH BLACK (which is a comparative movie actually), but it was handled so much better in the Vin Diesel film. For that reason alone this score is as low as it is. I know that this  should be a writing issue (and it is), but since we are dealing with a writer/director (Neil Marshall), I feel it is proper to question it here as well. Otherwise, the movie was technically strong. The character effects were solid, and it mostly did what it set out to do. SCORE: 5

MOVIE

Until that moment near the end, this movie had me. There are a few cheap scares (i.e. the look-around-the-corner-and-not-see-anything-and-then-proceed-to-try-and-slowly-back-down-said-corner-only-to-be-confronted-by-a-scary-monster trick), but I won’t begrudge them that. This movie certainly had me shrinking back into my couch at several moments, and I’m sure it would have had a bigger impact on the big screen. SCORE: 7

ACTING

A list of unkown female actors get a chance to really shine here. There are none of your usual cheesy horror movie moments. Everything feels legitamitely scary to them. Slightly low only because there wasn’t much to do in terms of an actor stretching. SCORE: 6

WRITING

Again, well done until it nuked the fridge at the end. I know they tried to explain the morality of said moment in the last shot of the film, but it wasn’t enough for me. Otherwise, I liked the script. It was a little unusual in terms of your normal three act structure, because the third act starts very early and is basically where the villain is introduced. The second act, the group being lost in the cave, is very well done. SCORE: 6

BONUS

Beautiful cinematography gets this film a bonus point. It feels open when it should, and claustrophobic when it should. When many movies would lose you in the dark, the filmmakers smartly use different colors of lights (one group has  a flare, another a torch, another a neon glow light) so that you immediately know who it is you are following. Really thought this was a well-shot movie, and one of the nicest horror movies to look at that I can remember. Now I just wish I had a bigger TV (and no… a big screen TV is not on my wedding registry) SCORE: 1

FINALLY TALLY

FILM: 5; MOVIE:7; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1

5+7+6+6+1=25

FINAL SCORE: 6.25

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~ by johnlink00 on March 25, 2009.

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