Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Descent

I'm not a big fan of the horror genre and I usually limit myself to PG-13 fare like The Grudge and The Ring. While such films are a bit creepy and have their share of "Boo!" moments, they have never really thrill me or get my pulse racing. No such problems with The Descent! Incredibly bloody and gory, the film is nevertheless a breathless, intense ride of the kind only a horror movie can deliver.

The film follows 6 women who go cave-diving together in the Appalachian mountains. One of the women suffered a tragedy about a year ago(the nature of this tragedy is the first hint that the film is going to be bloody) and her friends are hoping she comes out of her shell. While the group thinks they are exploring a previously-visited, documented cave system, the daredevil leader has actually picked a hitherto-unexplored, new cave system in the hope that they will get to name it. So when the way they came in is blocked by falling rocks, they have to find another way out of the place. And they soon learn that they are not alone.

The real horror doesn't start until almost an hour into the film but it is surprising how much tension the movie generates even until then. The claustrophobic atmosphere has been exploited terrifically as the women realize their hopeless position and move on ahead in the hope of finding an exit. The lights from flares, lighters, etc. are used to light the way and the different colors have quite an eerie effect. And since that light is the only light, we see only as much as the women do. So we are almost constantly at our seat's edge since we never know what's just round the corner.

The tension is ratcheted up to a whole new level once the creatures are unveiled. They are very creepy and terror-inducing and the tension in some scenes is simply unbearable. There is a lot of gore but it is not explicitly shown because of the darkness and the feeble light sources(one of the women uses the night vision mode of a video camera to find her way). Needless to say, there are some very effective "Boo!" moments to further rattle us.

The movie doesn't rely on just these creatures and uses the conflicts between the women just as effectively to keep the atmosphere tense. In fact, some of the most shocking moments in the movie happen between the women. The end eschews the usual climax of horror films and by lulling us into a false sense of hope for a little while, ensures that it is riveting and surprising right until the last moment.

A must-see for horror afficionados!


At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am gonna stay away from this...anniyan ode leeches or rama nayaranan pada paambu paathaale raathir kanavula, "padukkaiyil paambu neliyudhu"-nu (not the meaning that the "tik tik tik" song intended!!) bayam varum...indha description paathale bayam-aa irukku ba...! ipovera 11:32 pm-ku padikren...
kanavula ennena varra povudho...andava...!

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooo.. I'm definitely checking this movie out. I haven't gotten my horror flick fix since this year started. There are few more horror flicks out that i wanna check out... NOw if only I could remember the names...


At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't so scary, I find it abit boring until the female version of the creatures pop funny.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recently watched "Cujo" Good Horror.


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