Combustible Celluloid
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With: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll
Written by: Neil Marshall
Directed by: Neil Marshall
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence/gore and language
Running Time: 99
Date: 03/11/2005

The Descent (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Cradle to the Cave

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on Neil Marshall's previous film, the derivative Dog Soldiers, I wasn't expecting much from his follow-up. But The Descent is very simply the scariest film I've seen in years (since Pulse). In the simple set-up, six young women, including Nora-Jane Noone (The Magdalene Sisters) go spelunking in an unmarked, unmapped cave. Something supernatural is indeed lurking down there, but Marhsall makes sure to play the full deck; the girls' own history and fears will come into play even more sharply than any made-up beastie. The director keeps his frame almost constantly surrounded by inky blackness, with only a wobbling blob of light letting us know that anyone's there. Hold on tight.

DVD Details: I saw The Descent on a very good import DVD, available from It's a 2-disc set with very impressive picture and sound, with a ton of extras: two commentary tracks, a making-of featurette (with funny outtakes and the cast and crew talking about their favorite scary movies), extended scenes, outtakes, stills, biographies and a trailer. You must have an all-region machine to play the film. I've heard that Lionsgate, which plans to distribute the film in the U.S. later this year, has changed the ending so this may be your only chance to see the real thing.

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