The Descent

The Descent ★★★½

First movie by Neil Marshall who, on top of directing 5 or 6 movies, also did a few of the really big episodes of Game of Thrones. Neat!
This is an example of a horror movie that has excellent direction, camera work, cinematography, and set design and a totally average story. Maybe the idea seemed fresher at the time, but by now, I think I've seen 3 or 4 horror movies where a backwoods trip somewhere goes horribly wrong concurrently with the film's characters uncovering unpleasant secrets about each other while the main character, whoever it is, also consistently reflects on some kind of prior trauma. The Netflix movie The Ritual is pretty much exactly this, except with men instead of women and a forest instead of caves (and it was made like, 13 years later, which suggests this movie was probably more original and interesting when it came out). I really am impressed, though, with how this movie looks, feels, and is edited - if those parts were as average as the storyline and dialogue (somebody LITERALLY says 'what's the matter with her? she looks like she's just seen a ghost!'), this would be a totally forgettable movie, but those elevate it enough that I can definitely understand why genre fans like this movie so much. Really striking imagery and a few individual shots that definitely belong in the 'great moments in horror movies' canon.

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