Second Union

Second Union

Second Union’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR: Day 21 – The Descent (2005)

Welcome to the Second Union 31 Days of Horror event! Every day leading up to Tuesday, October 31st, (starting Sunday, October 1st) we will post a review of one horror film.

Today’s Film: The Descent. Enjoy!

The Descent is directed by Neil Marshall and follows a group of friends who go exploring a cave, only to be attacked by mysterious and horrifying creatures. A simple setup that leads to a downright frightening experience. This is a really crazy film. I mean, it’s really hard to put into words what I think of this movie. It’s a disturbing, unsettling, claustrophobic flick that brings out fears that nobody bothers to put in films nowadays. When these friends enter the cave, they have no idea what they’re in for. And it ain’t pretty. Before you watch this film, know that you are in for a flat-out gorefest. Seriously, if you cannot handle blood, you probably shouldn’t see this. The film is full of it. There are literally pools of blood, bone, and muck, and it was quite unsettling.

The creatures in this film are a mix between Gollum in Lord of the Rings and the Strigoi on The Strain. They crawl, they bite, they kill, and they look super damn creepy while doing it. The dark, enclosed environment only adds to the horrific atmosphere. I also really appreciate the aesthetic. It’s either red (when seen in reality) and green (when seen through the camera). It really adds a new perspective to things when you can see what’s transpiring through multiple viewpoints.

The film does have a few pacing issues, mainly in the beginning. It does take a while to cut to the chase, and viewers may easily get bored with the uninteresting banter between the friends in the beginning. There are also moments where I felt smarter than the characters. What I mean by that is I knew that they could have totally avoided something if they had simply made smarter choices. People in horror films are supposed to make choices that the audience wouldn’t think of, and I have encountered films like that before. But this isn’t one of those movies, unfortunately. There’s also an over-abundance of swearing, which I thought was unnecessary.


The Descent is a fine horror film, a bloody example of how to give the audience claustrophobia. The way it conveys how a person can go insane down there by giving a subtle hint at the beginning is quite masterful. However, it suffers from pacing issues and moments that feel unneeded and don’t further the characters’ interactions with each other in any way. I’m going to give it an A-.

The Descent stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, and Nora-Jane Noone. Directed by Neil Marshall.

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