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The Descent
DVD disk
Jan 30, 2007 By: Sturdy
The Descent order
Director:
Neil Marshall

Actors:
Shauna Macdonald
Natalie Mendoza
Alex Reid

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A woman goes deep cave exploring with five of her friends to help her forget about the tragic death of her loved ones. After setting out in the Appalachians, a rockfall blocks their exit and only evil awaits them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Every time I review a horror movie, I always preface it by saying Im not a fan of the genre. Ive grown tired and cynical in my old age of Hollywoods insistence on cheesy horror films and overuse of the torture schtick. Ill stop just short of saying I liked THE DESCENT, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised by its breathtaking pace and fresh take on a basic horror film storyline.

One of the things that makes this film worthwhile is the great performances of the all female cast. I liked the fact all of the main leads were female and I felt it made the suspense and urgency in the film that much more heightened. These arent your typical OC rejects either, these are tough gals that you actually believe could go cave diving. Another thing I felt while watching this film was that Neil Marshall had plenty of opportunities to screw it up. I kept waiting for him to take a cheap shot or hold back, but it never came. Thats a testament to his directing ability because many lesser directors would have sold out. Mr. Marshall, however, kept the hits coming.

However, if youre a horror fan and youre reading this, all you probably want to know is whether or not its scary. I can safely say that it wont keep you up at night, but chances are good it will make you jump a few times while youre watching it. Again, kudos goes to Mr. Marshall for creating intense and claustrophobic settings that force the viewer to feel like theyre right there with the characters. This film is a welcome relief to the run-of-the-mill horror films most fans have come to expect.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Neil Marshall, Shauna Macdonald, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora-Jane Noone and Myanna Buring: This group is a blast to listen to, but good luck trying to figure out whos who. All of them provide a lot of good insight into the film and Neil Marshall gives you a lot of great trivia.

Commentary with Neil Marshall, Jon Harris, Christian Colson and Simon Bowles: This one is a bit of a letdown after listening to the first one. Its obviously more dull, with a lot of the more interesting tidbits already taken. It does focus on the technical aspects of the film, but again, not as good as the first one.

Beneath the Scenes (41:16): This is a nice making-of featurette that covers just about everything you want to know about the film. We see a lot of production footage and interviews with all the girls and most of the crew members. One interesting fact to note is that no actual cave was used in the film.

Descending (7:12): I guess there was some controversy surrounding the ending of the film. It seems the American test audiences didnt like his original ending and Im not sure why. Luckily, the proper ending found its way on the DVD and Mr. Marshall seems happy about that.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:03): Pacing. Thats the only reason these scenes were cut and since the pace was lightning fast and exciting, Im glad they were cut out. However, the scenes are nice to watch after the fact, but consist mainly of the girls hanging out.

Outtakes (5:12): Blah. A bunch of on-camera mishaps played to a rock song. Theyre decent, but nothing great. I would have preferred to hear the actual audio and not the song.

There are also some Storyboard comparisons, a Stills gallery and some Preveiws.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I think most horror fans will dig this film. Its definitely a step above some of the lame horror films in 2006. Its a must recommend to all horror fans and any teenage boy trying to get his girl to scoot closer to him on the couch.
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