HMM Day 28 – The Descent

I have been married for about twelve years and one thing my wife do is often times watch television in separate rooms. We just like watching different things and that is quite alright. It is always a good thing when two people can live together and still be able to enjoy their own shit. But on this day I would join my wife and watch a show called “The Real Housewives of ‘insert city here.'” Have you seen this show? Why didn’t my wife tell me about this sooner! So much suspense that it floats in the air like the smell of sex after a long hot day! Let me tell you what it was about.

So Bethanny and Dorinda were getting ready to go to an event that was being hosted by Tinsley because Tinsley is doing a new fashion line. But Bethanny hates Tinsley because Tinsley once said Bethanny’s face looks like a fucking fish! OOOOH MAN! Shit is gonna go down! You gone messed up Tinsley! Bethanny is out to get you bitch! So Bethanny shows up to this clothing line show but guess what? Bethanny wasn’t even I.N.V.I.T.E.D! Bum bumm, buuuuummmmmm! Bethanny walks into the room and everyone is all nice and pretty. They great each other with smiles and kisses. Tinsley and Bethanny smile at each other too but you can feel the tension rising. So much excitement that it will make you sweat. Then a commercial break happens and my heart is pounding.

At this point I look over at my wife and she looks at me. We both know whats coming. I nod my head and give her this look of “I know what is coming!” So I tell her “This is what will go down! Any minute the two ladies will end all peace talks and negotiations and a fight will ensue over something like pastry puffs. Tinsley is going to take her high heal shoe and jam it into Bethanny’s eye! Bethanny wails in agony as blood splatters all over the other guests who in turn start puking because know one can stomach an eye gauging scene. But then Bethanny is going to turn out to be a vampire and bite Tinsley right on the tit! Draining her very essence from her body! But what Bethanny doesn’t know is that Tinsley has been secretly dosing herself with a garlic serum concocted by a long distance relative of the Dr. Jekyll! So Bethanny will soil up and burn like a blaze of glory! The women in the party will begin dancing upon the blood and ashes of Bethanny’s corpse because they’re secretly members of a cult that worships the pagan demon Botoximastsu. They will call upon this evil deity to bestow on them long fruitful lives and husbands that don’t care about their hard earned income going to pay for another jewelry line and whatever surgery that denies the inevitability of aging!” I end my ramble way before the second commercial even hits during the brake. I sit there like an eager sultan waiting for a beheading as my wife looks at me. She knows I’m right and just too perplexed to comment.

Holy shit, this is going to epic! All this suspense that will lead up to this one point! But the show does this stupid ending where you have to see what happens next week! OH COME ON! I want to see the juicy bloodshed! Don’t leave me hanging, the suspense is killing me.

Don’t you love suspense? The very word is so awesome and streamline. SUSPENSE! Like a bullet shooting through space. Cool and precise. A good story means absolutely nothing without a little suspense. That build up of excitement through events and dialogue that bring us deeper into the story. Our feelings rage because it and it passes us emotionally and psychologically to this moment of climax! You could literally go on forever about suspense in horror movies. One movie that is full of great suspense is a great film called The Descent.

The Descent is a 2005 film directed by Neil Marshall and stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, MyAnna Buring, Saskia Mulder, Alex Reid and Nora-Jane Noone. After the success of 2002’s Dog Soldiers, Marshall was asked to once again make another horror film. Marshall would want to make a horror film that builds the tension slowly and when make things feel like when things couldn’t get any worse… they get worse. The film did fairly well in limited theaters and has gone on to have high praise.

The Descent

After the death of Sarah’s husband and daughter in an automobile accident. Sarah and her five friends go on a cave excursion in the middle of the woods. As they make their way deeper into the cave, it becomes more apparent that this excursion will turn into a total nightmare.

I found the movie The Descent when I was walking through a Blockbuster one night and just needing something to watch. I like judging movies by their DVD covers because I am a child. This one looked king was kind of generic but I thought “what the hell.” Initially I thought it would be a pretty cliche film that would be fairly boring. I haven’t heard of it and it was mixed in a lot of other films in the Blockbuster rack that didn’t seem all to convincing. Little did I know how wrong I was!

The Descent is a genuinely well made movie that takes the premise of a basic creature feature and gives it a dose of realism and suspense. But suspense that isn’t exhausting or 100% right from the beginning. You see, good suspense doesn’t have to be “gun blazing grab your cocks” kind of adventure. It can be subtle and if done right, give you enough of a jolt to create a desire to proceed. As these six women make their way into this cave they get lost, which in itself is terrifying beyond measure. The cave is unmarked and if you’ve ever gone spelunking then you can imagine the terror of a cave in. So right off the back we’re given a world full of claustrophobia and uncontrolled environment. To be fairly honest, the movie could be void of flesh eating monsters and still be a pretty terrifying film. Maybe not “horror” but more terrifying like 1993’s Alive. It goes a good while in establishing this momentous situation and then makes things even worse by introducing these bat-like humanoids that send our already serious conflict into full throttle hell.

Bat… people?

The monsters in this movie really aren’t monsters at all. More like a missing link of the human genome that have adapted as nocturnal cave dwelling creatures. Kind of like bat people or something. They’re ferocious and use their evolved features to kill their prey. I love how Marshall developed a humanoid species that isn’t just a group of unknown genders. Creature features with “humanoid” kind of baddies tend to be a blank canvas. No social or social structure. Just killing for food and nothing more. They have females and even children like any kind of species. The cave is their kingdom and rule like we rule our own. It may be more animal than humans but it’s still something. This creates a believable antagonist that makes us wonder if something like this could truly exist.

It’s a slow burn kind of film that builds a plot organically. It takes about fifty minutes for the film to actually become an actual horror movie but before that there are sprinkles of indicators that show they’re headed into danger. These are what I call blots of subtle suspense. The character Sarah is the only one that is catching on and noticing the signs. She sees marks on rock walls and thinks she hears a child’s voice in dark tunnels. The group is oblivious to it all but we see it as clues for a showdown. This kind of mysterious suspense keeps us excited and makes the very first introduction of these monsters a much welcome moment. In fact it’s terrifying and sends the movie into a completely different tone. The women start fighting to survive and what was once a film about being lost in a cave becomes a survival of species. It’s brutal and full of scenes which make your heart pound.

While the movie is primarily a monster movie it is also has a brilliant character storyline that develops some good drama. The group of women are all friends and trying to support Sarah through her loss. But there’s tension there. Obviously the character Juno had some sort of fling with Sarah’s husband. Everyone is aware of it and it’s the elephant in the… cave. Sarah is trying cope but obviously she is resentful to Juno. This is felt the entire film and all leads up as a fuel to the suspense. The movie may be a creature feature but quickly becomes a movie more about revenge. Sarah goes on to become some kind of Rambo and eventually takes her revenge on Juno for whatever she has done.

The movie is fun and well paced. The atmosphere of the cave creates a dark and foreboding tone and every character is well acted and serves a good purpose. I love this movie and enjoy the suspense that eventually builds into a well done climax. It leaves you ending the film in the dark yet rewarded for how Sarah pulls herself through. The scene where she falls into a pit of blood and guts and then emerges is kind of like her baptism or rite of passage. She has gone through so much and at this point emerges stronger and willing to confront anything. This is why The Descent is chosen for day twenty eight of my Horror Movie Marathon!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Funny story is that the first time I saw this film it was in the cinema and I didn’t enjoy it at all. What didn’t help was that I saw it on a day where pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong, so I was in a very foul mood. The second time I saw it at home, in the evening, in a dark room, and I greatly questioned my sanity as to how on Earth I didn’t enjoy it the first time. Another perfect example of why moods can be important when watching something.
    Anyways, great post, and I completely agree with you! This was a slowburn movie, that build it’s suspense up in such an amazing way. It’s just awesome! Too bad the sequel was so bad though😢😢

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had my reservations about this movie and I presently surprise when I watched it.

    Liked by 1 person

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