Friday, October 9, 2020

Spook Out! Day 9 ~ The Descent (2005)

Amazon Says...
"A girls' trip to explore a labyrinth of North Carolina caves takes a terrifying turn in this spelunking scarefest."

I Say...
The "girls' trip" descriptor annoys me but otherwise, Amazon's correct.

Horror Type...
Creature Feature, Action

Main Players...
Shauna Macdonald as Sarah (Grieving Survivor)
Natalie Mendoza as Juno (Lara Croft's Evil Twin)
Alex Reid as Beth (Stalwart BFF)

I liked...
  • how the movie shakes you up pretty soon near the start, in a wholly unexpected way
  • that this film showcased six badass gals just being badasses, without passing commentary along the lines of how impressive it is that women can do these physically demanding feats. They just did their thing bc that's what they like to do, all matter-of-fact, tough, and competent, and that's just that (like that scene when they all have to get across a sickeningly deep chasm--dang!)
  • how, despite the trauma she's endured, Sarah's still a fighter with a will to live
  • Beth and Sarah's deep, true friendship
  • the complexity of the movie's main antagonist--by which I don't mean the feature's creatures (aka Crawlers), but gal-pal Juno. She's, pardon the expression, that bitch who's perky af first thing in the morning and can freaking stretch her body into positions that'd make a pole dancer blush. She's also a duplicitous, self-interested, manipulative character who is yet weirdly honorable (or perhaps just guilt-driven, but the ability to feel guilt and let it motivate you to do good is--in my opinion--underrated), amazingly fit and fearless, and a BAMF fighter when she's gotta be. I hate her frickin guts but begrudgingly respect her. In short, Juno's hella compelling and Natalie Mendoza shoulda won a shit-ton of awards for her work in this, but didn't (nor did any of the gals in this film) bc there's no justice in this world
  • that the movie completely avoids being male-gazey--bravo, and I mean that most sincerely

The Meh...
  • I mean, they're in caves, so it's frigging dark and hard to see stuff and understand what's going on, like with found-footage flicks. When a movie spends too much time in crappy lighting, I get all bored and reach for my cell and miss stuff and have to go back and waste time catching up--ugh
  • the movie starts with some of the gals whitewater rafting and they're screaming a lot and it's high-pitched and cuts through my temples and blerch
  • I find the basic idea of the movie a bit classist--these folks can afford regular adventure vacations (and all the requisite gear) and they opt to put themselves in dangerous and difficult situations for kicks (I feel this way about movies with all male casts who do this kind of thing as well). So many people have to do hard and harrowing work so as to provide for themselves and their families and don't get paid enough to be able to take annual vacations--and if they can afford one in a given year, they're sure as shit not risking their lives and potentially putting others to the trouble, danger, and expense of rescuing them. I have to admit, the privilege inherent in this premise somewhat dims my enjoyment of the movie...

Would I recommend it...?
My third Meh bullet notwithstanding, I would, bc it really is a fantastic thriller. And those Crawlers are the stuff of nightmares--I held my breath often as I watched, lest they hear me and tear through the screen, lol. Not recommended for the faint-of-heart and/or folks suffering from claustro-, acro-, or nyctophobia.

My grades are, of course, subjective but in the case of The Descent I do appreciate it intellectually/objectively in a way that I can't fully do emotionally/subjectively--and my grade reflects this ambivalence. However, dear Readers, I felt y'all should have access to reviews that wholeheartedly endorse the movie, so here are a couple of podcasts you can listen to, if you're interested:

My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=85%, Audience Score=76%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The Descent on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other streaming platforms)

This concludes Day 9 of

Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow...



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