Halloween Week

Halloween Week 2009: Ana’s Movie Marathon – The Descent

Disclaimer: Halloween is totally a Thea thing when she hijacks the blog and makes me watch and read all sorts of stuff that are way outside my comfort zone (I am SO NOT a horror/Halloween fan). Last year, it was The Evil Dead movies, which, wouldn’t you know, I ended up loving. This year, I was given another list of movies that I had to watch, one for each day of the week. Ana’s Halloween Marathon is now an official part of our annual Halloween celebration. Let the torture fun begins!

Also: there will be spoilers!!!!

Ana’s Halloween TV/Movie Marathon: Day 5 – The Descent

Why The Descent: Today is kick-ass horror heroine day in our Halloween Celebration and Thea asked me to watch this one. I have NO IDEA why I agreed given as how I hate the premise (see below).

Trivia: This movie is about a bunch of women that go on a caving expedition. I HATE caving. I hate caves and everything to do with it. When I was a teenager I went to a nature-walk that included a visit to a cave, a small one mind, not of those that go on and on and on, but still one that had a couple of tunnels and I ….froze. I FROZE. It was horrible, that was when I realised I had fear of heights and fear of confined spaces: SO not the best place or time to find out about those. I had to be dragged all the way back by two very lovely people. And I swore to NEVER, EVER be near a cave again. EVER.

Viewing Party: This one was a proper viewing party. I enlisted Dear Partner to watch it with me (as a comfort company) and got the proper edibles – crisps, beer and chocolate covered raisins. We sat down to watch it and I was prepared to be terrified. I was not disappointed – it was a perfect horrific experience and I came out of it simultaneously liking and loathing this movie.

The premise is this: a group of friends get together to go to a caving expedition.

Before embarking in their Descent….to HELL

They all seem to be pretty knowledgeable and experienced (a bonus thing about the movie in my opinion, that they are not just a bunch of idiots that decided to try something new and shinny) and they go in and go down and down descending into their doom. Because OF COURSE an accident happens and a tunnel collapses and they can’t go back; OF COURSE someone did something stupid like actually making the decision to take the group to an un-mapped , never visited before system of caves without telling any of the other members of the group and without telling anyone in the outside because she thought it would be fun. OF COURSE worse things happen, like someone breaking a leg, someone losing their ropes. And then, on top of the claustrophobia, on top of being trapped inside a cave without knowing where to go and if they would ever be able to leave, as if paranoia, fear, danger of exhaustion, hunger, thirst, death or worse weren’t enough: OF COURSE TPTB go and RUIN everything by adding hominid-creatures- that- live –in- the –dark- and-want-to-devour-the-ladies, to the mix.

What I liked: the absolutely terrifying experience of watching this movie and believe me when I say this: I have no way of expressing how much I HATE that I liked that. I guess this whole Halloween thing is getting to me. Getting out of my comfort zone to find out that I like being outside my comfort zone is not ….comfortable. Or something. But I digress. This movie tapped in every single thing I am afraid of: caves, being trapped, claustrophobia, the dark, tunnels, creepy crawlies, height. The first hour of the movie was brilliant in exploring all that – in the crescendo of horrible things and in the tension of knowing that these women are probably doomed. Plus, the women, they are totally kick-ass (which is why I was supposed to watch the movie in the first place) : they do not freeze or panic at first, they move on, thinking, examining, trying to find a way out. They also make mistakes – who doesn’t – until they are faced with something very primal inside themselves, the very instinct of survival, at all costs.

Carrie called. She wants her blood back.

Brutal, bloody and efficient – they are all that and more. And it was awesome to see that. And I loved the ending that I got – the one where everybody dies. Muwahahahah. Wait. OMG THEA WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?

What I loathed: the fact that what was a GREAT chance for psychological horror with all the PLAUSIBLE things that can occur when you are trapped in a system of tunnels is thrown away for what I consider cheap thrills – yes, horrible, yes terrifying, yes it allows for some kick-ass moments, but still silly nonetheless. I hated the addition of the creatures. Hated with a passion. It was so unnecessary.

Gollum was sad he wasn’t invited to partake the dinner

They weren’t even that scary – more gross than anything. I guess this is a monster movie after all which is not my cup of tea. I also hate that there is an alternate ending, in which one of them survives and that now they are making The Descent 2. Blah.

Verdict: I don’t know. I guess from a pure objective point of view, this is QUITE horrific. Which I presume, should be the point. There were parts I REALLY loved like the first hour and the kick-assness of the girls, especially Juno and Sarah:

And with that, I finally bid adieu to my Halloween Week homework.


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  • katiebabs
    October 30, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I can’t believe they have made a sequel! I loved the ending, especially all the alternative endings.

  • Thea
    October 30, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Congratulations, baby! YOU DID IT!

    Ok I totally understand what you’re saying about the “monsters” in the cave, and it’s cool. I get why you didn’t like them. But…I liked them 😈 I liked that the tension and psychological terror was so high to begin with (being trapped in the cave, things going wrong, people getting injured, Sarah totally pissed at Juno for fucking around with her dead husband), and then the monsters aren’t really the source of the true fear in the movie – they’re just the catalyst to get these characters really going. And….they’re scary creatures! LOL. Gollum, FTW!

    Seriously, I’m so glad you liked the characters at least, and that you successfully found happiness outside of your comfort zone. My work here…is done. 😈

  • Thea
    October 30, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Oh and also, The Descent 2??? REALLY? Gaah. The ending where everyone dies is the ending that should be used.

  • Gerd Duerner
    October 30, 2009 at 10:14 am

    “Sarah totally pissed at Juno for fucking around with her dead husband”
    -which was by then still alive I might add, although the sentence as it stands sounds like a more interesting premise. 🙂

    Loved the movie, but I have to partially agree, the monsters where not as horrific as the cave exploration scene in which they squish through that narrow gap, you could have rather shot me right then and there…

  • Maili
    October 31, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Which edition did you watch? I didn’t see any monsters as clearly as you’ve described or like that still/photo.

    The edition I saw (twice – one at a film festival and one at mainstream cinema) only has hints and sounds of them moving around and fighting, and they were never clearly revealed themselves. Does it end with Sarah with a birthday cake and a certain someone?

    I loved Juno. When I told friends this she was shocked and exclaimed, “But she had an affair with her friend’s husband!” Another friend quickly jumped in: “When you’re lost in a cave and at war with crazy and scary fuckers, none of that matters! Juno rocks.” 😀

  • Ana
    October 31, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Maili I had no idea that there were different editions, the monsters in the one I watched appeared VERY clearly and a LOT. *shudders*.

    and yes my version ends with Sarah and the birthday cake and a certain someone *ninja*

  • Maili
    October 31, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Neither did I. I just checked the list. There seem to be seven editions. o_0
    – Four U.S./Canadian editions (two with the birthday cake – one uncut and the other is not; two with the surprise! jump – one unrated and the other is not),
    – Two UK theatrical/DVD editions 2006 (the birthday cake – one uncut and one is unrated)
    – One UK theatrical edition 2005 (the unseen monsters and the birthday cake).

    I must have seen the UK theatrical 2005 edition. That gives me a good excuse to watch it on DVD, then! =D

  • katiebabs
    October 31, 2009 at 10:08 am

    There are 3 alternate endings to this movie that I saw. The UK version which is the one Ana saw, the US version which I found pretty meh and a 3rd ending that is also pretty freaky.

  • Maili
    October 31, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Third ending? News to me! How does it end?

  • katiebabs
    October 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Maili: The third ending is where Sara escapes out of the tunnel and finds the car and drives away. She pulls over to the side of the road and sees a bloodied Juno next to her. She freaks out and it is led to believe she was saved but is crazy.

    The other ending which I liked a lot better, is the same scenario, but when Sarah screams, she is back in the cave and the gollum flesh eaters are coming for her.

  • Ana
    October 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Oh I seeeeeeeeeeeee, so this third ending has got to be the “official” one, because thete is a sequel and Sarah needs to return to the cave to face her demons. WhatEVER.

  • katiebabs
    October 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I loved the ending with Sara in the cave doing you know what with we know who 😉

    sequel bah! Bah I say! BAH BAH *cough channeling mho here*

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