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The Descent (2005) Review

This 2005 thriller about a group of women who go on an adventure in a cave really is something unlike anything I had ever seen before. The film’s main character is a woman named Sarah Carter, an either Scottish or British woman who lost her husband and daughter in a tragic car crash. A year later, Sarah and a group of about five other women go into this cave so they can “name” it, as they would be the first to go through it. Sounds simple enough right?

The story is pretty original as far as I know and I also liked how simple it was at its core. This movie can be simply described as the “cave monster movie.” But it was so much more than just that. The writing and camera work was done in a way that make for a very suspenseful film. I was literally cringing at certain parts of the film, imagining myself in the different situations the main characters were in. As far as the ending goes, I was satisfied. I felt the writers did a good job with the version I saw. Without giving spoilers away, I’ll say that the ending was definitely thought provoking.

Spoilers Below

First off, I thought the monsters were appropriate for this film and they were realistically portrayed. The explanation of the people that evolved to live in the cave seemed to work for the film. Although, I did think that the movie underplayed their sense of hearing, as they should be able to hear much more since they are blind. Also, I thought they could have been a little more powerful. Secondly, I got restless leg syndrome during the part of the movie where Sarah was stuck in that crawl space. I felt myself getting more and more claustrophobic. Another thing I had a problem with was the arm and grip strength of these girls. There is NO way the girls would be able to hang from one hand for as long as they did when they were trying to get across gorges (is that what you call them?) without a long rope. The girls going across those gorges literally looked like something out of Ninja Warrior!

Let’s talk about the ending. I’m told that there are various alternate endings to this film, but the ending that I saw showed Sarah leaving Juno to be eaten and getting out of the cave. Sarah then frantically runs in the car where we get a jump scare in the form of a semi-truck. After some silence, we see Juno in the passenger seat and we are immediately back in the cave, thus showing that Sarah getting out was a dream. We then see Sarah looking at her daughter with a birthday cake, which turns out to be an illusion. This drove me CRAZY because this either means that 1)all her friends died and she is having illusions of her daughter. Or 2)she went in the cave ALONE and had illusions of all her friends dying to cave monsters. I really have no idea after this ending what it really is. I would like to think that I didn’t waste almost two hours watching what was a dream, but I really do love those endings where I don’t know what’s really going on. The ending to Inception is a great example of this.

Rating: 7/10. I would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers.

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