When you've got a heroin-thin story and you just bamboozled a roomful of studio execs, what do you do? Kill the director and make it look like a suicide? Take the money and skip the country? If you're The Descent's writer/director Neil Marshall, you think of a more subtle approach.
Take a bunch of British chicks with enchanting accents. Make them go spelunking in the Appalachians and have them get jumped by a bunch of PCP-addicted versions of Gollum. Let's cover them in paint. And not just any paint, either. I'm talking house paint so they look just as greasy as a Revlon model. And we'll need plenty of heavily saturated lighting. However The Descent does succeed as a horror movie in its sense of claustrophobia. I think the story would've been more interesting if the stupid mutated monsters got the kibosh before The Descent got greenlit, but of course I'd still be ripping on it. The Spice Girls on the Vacation from Hell! Get real.
The Descent tries hard to ride the coattails of better movies, informing you that it's from the studio that brought you Saw and The Blair Witch Project. What a way to sell a movie. Imagine if someone was trying to set you up on a date and they were trying to sell you on it: ┐From the same neighborhood where the girl who got loaded and had sex with you last September comes The New Girl I Want You To Meet. You will laugh! You will feel her up! Her underwear may even end up crammed in the cushions of your back seat!
If nothing else, The Descent scores points for avoiding the same clichŹd crap that every other horror movie that's come out in the last few years seemed to heavily rely on. No Popular Guy, no Smart Geek, no Quirky Hottie With Childhood Trauma. Don't get me wrong; The Descent still pretty much blows, but it blows in a different way. Kind of like when you see The Bills almost win in the last 2 minutes of a game. Still doesn't happen, but it leaves you hopeful for next time.
Talladega Nights | Miami Vice | The Night Listener
The Descent | Scoop | John Tucker Must Die