Saturday, October 31, 2009

Your Deepest Fears...

In 2005, director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers) made a rather intense and scary movie called The Descent. It was a huge hit at Sundance and eventually got a distribution deal from Lionsgate, the same studio responsible for Saw and Hostel.

I must admit, much like Blair Witch, The Descent is one of the few Horror movies that actually got to me. With its combination of claustrophobia, monsters and gore, The Descent is also one of the few Horror movies that treats its female characters as real human beings, rather than just victims.

The movie concerns a group of adventurous vacation buddies. While on teh way home from a white water rafting trip, Sarah's husband and daughter are killed in a horrific (and none-too-subtly shot) accident. The following year, the six-friends reunite in a remote region of the Smokey Mountains to go spelunking. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) has barely recovered and hopes that having her friends around will help. Juno (Natalie Mendoza), the group's bad-ass, has planned the trip, telling her friends they are exploring a well-mapped system. Of course, she also tells them that she's registered their trip with the authorities. Needless to say, both of those are lies, and the six women soon find themselves trapped in an uncharted system after a tunnel collapse. Now, bickering with one another thanks to Juno's stupidity, they must find their way out on their own.

The real problem? They're not alone...

See, there are these blind, bat-like humanoid monsters living in the caves, stalking the girls for food. the "Crawlers" are everywhere and guided by sound and smell, they take the women out, one at a time. I saw this movie with my friend Laura, who I thought was going to rip my arm off at certain points. And I have to admit, this jaded Horror junkie got worked up by The Descent, something very few Horror movies have ever been able to do.

Marshall's follow-up, 2008's post-apocalyptic actioner Doomsday was disappointing, to the say the least. As, I have a feeling, will the The Descent 2, directed by the original's editor, Jon Harris. In it, Sarah returns to the caves with a group of scientists and cops to find out what actually happened to her five companions, something only possible if you only ever saw the American cut of the movie.

Well. that was an intense month of blogging. I guess I can get back to talking about other nonsense, now. I hope you had as much fun as I did. Oh, and just one last thing... if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend director Ti West's take on the Babysitter in Peril movie, The House of the Devil. It's currently available on DVD and On Demand. Not only is it creepy good fun, it also has something rare in modern Horror: characters you actually care about.

Hoping you all had a safe, happy and scary Halloween!

More, anon.

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