FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: The Descent (2005)


I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the feminist horror The Descent

Celador Films / Northmen Productions / Pathé Distribution

A group of female friends find themselves trapped and hunted in a series of caves by an unknown force…

Neil Marshall‘s feminist horror pic may not completely subvert the genre to the level that it should, but is nonetheless without a doubt one of the finest examples of the sub-genre there is.

What holds the film back a little is that the six central women aren’t given enough time to develop individual personalities; a longer prologue would have been beneficial. Character shorthand (traumatised wife/mother, student doctor, protective older sister, etc…) and diverse accents are utilised to speed up the process and get straight into the action, but Marshall underestimates the power of the material and his own skill as a filmmaker.

This is, of course, a minor quip when considering the overall competence of this sleek production. Particular well done is the exciting and incredibly intense manoeuvring through the claustrophobic cave system… and that’s before the movie monsters (the slimy, human-esque Crawlers) make an unforgettable appearance!

Photographed utilising greens, reds, and silhouettes, the action isn’t always easy to observe, but outstanding creature design and strong female performances across the board (Shauna Macdonald and Natalie Mendoza as Sarah and Juno are particularly fine), mean that there’s plenty to enjoy in this edge-of-the-seat, nail-bitting journey. 4 / 5


Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll.

Director/Writer: Neil Marshall | Producer: Christian Colson | Music: David Julyan | Cinematographer: Sam McCurdy | Editor: Jon Harris


Available: stan.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


I’ve been a Wayne Stellini and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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