From the Vault: ‘The Descent’ Is a Claustrophobic Horror Movie That Transcends Its Genre

There’s bound to be something for everyone when it comes to The Descent — if you’re not scared by the idea of getting lost in a pitch-black cave or facing carnivorous monsters, then the movie’s action might appeal to you.

There’s bound to be something for everyone when it comes to The Descent — if you’re not scared by the idea of getting lost in a pitch-black cave or facing carnivorous monsters, then the movie’s action might appeal to you

The Descent is one of those movies that feels somewhat choppy and anecdotal, but that really pulls through in the final act, stringing all of its loose elements together and creating a tense story not just about killer underground monsters, but also about trust and friendship and the lengths we’ll go to in order to survive against insurmountable odds.

Among the intrepid adventures in the almost exclusively female cast is Sarah, a woman who is coping with the loss of her husband and young daughter after she and her family are involved in a horrific car accident.

Imagine something like Aliens set underground, and you can come somewhat close to imagining the plot of The Descent.

It’s a first-rate survival story that brilliantly uses its limited yet expansive setting to build a claustrophobic atmosphere so damn palpable you find yourself practically hyperventilating when passages get too tight or a character’s flashlight battery begins flickering out.

It’s a movie that’s also complimented by some fantastic action scenes and some top-notch performances from the principal cast involved.

But more than that, what sets The Descent apart from your basic trapped-in-one-place-with-dangerous-monsters-that-want-to-eat-me-alive horror movies is the more subtle human story the film builds around Sarah, as well as her relationship to her friends.

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