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The Descent

Year: 2005
Production Co: Calador Films
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Cast: Shauna McDonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone

It's a very, very cool premise for a movie and a very high concept – trapped in a cave system with bizarre human/bat hybrid creatures that eat human flesh. All that was left for writer/director Neil Marshall to do was put decent flesh on its bones.

And in a movie that would have been at home in the Woke and MeToo era, the protagonists are all female. In the opening scene we see Sarah lose her husband in a horrific accident in their car when a piece of building material from a truck disembowels him.

A year later, barely recovered from her trauma, her friends suggest an adventurous caving trip to get her out of her own head a bit. They go into the dank, creepy cave system, discover they're being stalked by monsters, have to try to get out alive, and that's it.

I don't remember absolutely loving it, and I have a hard time remembering much of it, although it's hard not to remember the downbeat, nihilistic ending and how the brilliantly designed poster made as much impact on pop culture as the movie did.

But I know even now it's a hard premise to squander. All Marshall had to do was cast well so his leads are believable and have chemistry where it counts and design effective horror set pieces to put them in. Many of the comments I've read of it since have complained about the cheap jump scares, but I remember it being a very neat, no-nonsense monster mash.

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