I must admit I can’t speak to the sequels of this film as I didn’t see them, I was warned off by those who did, but I think The Descent is simply one of the most underrated horror films of the 2000s. I had never heard of it, and I don’t think it played theaters in Thailand, until finding it on a rental shelf a year or so after it released in 2006. Yes there used to be shops where you could walk around and look at movies and then rent them and of course I spent far too many hours in these stores when they existed. So enough said, the film released in 2006 to mixed reviews but dollars and yen say it was a big success that year as it grossed: worldwide according to Box Office Mojo 57,051,053.
So sometimes critics fail to grasp what movie-goers see clearly.
Now the film is a horror movie, but this piece goes so much deeper than a simple flesh eating creatures found while spelunking film ever has or further than a film with troglofaunal flesh-eating humanoids. The true descent of our characters into these caves and tunnels is spurred by a hidden truth, a betrayal of the highest order. A deception that will make the troglofaunal flesh-eaters (who are pallid already) pale in comparison. After all to find true hate enough to generate unbridled rage, one must first love the one who betrays.
Mining for diamonds when sifting through the mountains of coal in the horror film industry, can be a frustrating endeavor. I’ve been let down by more horror films than have impressed and for a myriad of reasons such as low budget shooting, anemic acting, but more often than not it is simply poor writing and lack of concern for serious story telling. The Decent is buoyed by a secret, ignited by circumstance of the direst setting imaginable – trapped in unexplored caves deep under the earth by a cave in – and captured by film technique that utilizes shading, shadow and surprise to keep viewers on edge. It is in essence one of those rare cinematic experiences when you truly feel as if you yourself have fallen through the Dante hole. Suffocating close-ups enhance the sense of claustrophobia while further ensnaring us in the cinematographer’s vision.
Okay so for the film students anxious to show off something, notice the colors. Our harlot proudly wears the red safety vest as she leads her friends into hell. But when is our heroin adorned in red or rather crimson? Keep in mind red has more than one meaning. Sexuality and power is certainly one meaning, but never forget vengeance.
Okay, then there is the ending. When you hit this you need to ask one question, "whose hell are we in?" in other words we know we have descended into hell, but whose? Are we in the vengeful fires of our heroin or in the pools of anguish of our whore?
For better help Google Dante's Inferno to analyse the levels of hell and find how each is represented in this film in some way. There's your filmafile assignment for you. ENJOY.