The Descent

August 4th, 2006

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The Descent

Still of Saskia Mulder and MyAnna Buring in The DescentStill of Natalie Mendoza and Saskia Mulder in The DescentNeil Marshall at event of The DescentStill of Shauna Macdonald in The DescentStill of Shauna Macdonald in The DescentThe Descent

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 7.3/10 (79,286 voted)

Critic's Score: 71/100

Director: Neil Marshall

Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid

A woman goes on vacation with her family and friends and her husband and her daughter encounters a tragic accident. One year later she goes hiking with her friends and they get trapped in the cave. With a lack of supply, they struggle to survive and they meet strange blood thirsty creatures.

Shauna Macdonald - Sarah
Natalie Mendoza - Juno
Alex Reid - Beth
Saskia Mulder - Rebecca
MyAnna Buring - Sam
Nora-Jane Noone - Holly
Oliver Milburn - Paul
Molly Kayll - Jessica
Craig Conway - Crawler - Scar
Leslie Simpson - Crawler
Mark Cronfield - Crawler
Stephen Lamb - Crawler (as Steve Lamb)
Catherine Dyson - Crawler
Julie Ellis - Crawler
Sophie Trott - Crawler

Taglines: Face Your Deepest Fear


Official Website: Lions Gate Films [United States] | Official site [Germany] |

Release Date: 4 August 2006

Filming Locations: Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: £3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £570,850 (UK) (10 July 2005) (329 Screens)

Gross: $57,029,609 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (original unrated cut)

Did You Know?

The appearance of the creatures was kept secret from the cast members until the first scene in which they encounter them was filmed. When the cast were finally filming the scene where the girls encounter the crawlers, the girls were genuinely scared and screamed the building down, running off set and laughing.

Revealing mistakes: When the girls pull out the camera, someone suggests to turn on the infrared, however, when we can see what they're looking at, the camera is clearly using the night vision setting, not infrared.

Juno: Sam's gonna be Doctor Van Ney in like a year's time.
Beth: Please tell me it's longer than that.

User Review

Masterful horror film. Spoiler free review

Rating: 9/10

If nightmare inducing horror is not your bag then the less you know about The Descent the better. Geordie writer-director Neil Marshall has delivered an accomplished, well acted, out and out horror movie that comes as much of a pleasant surprise as his first major feature Dog Soldiers did back in 2002. Shot in a mere 7 weeks The Descent sees a sextet of undeniably attractive action women leaping headfirst into an Appalachian potholing adventure that goes wrong so quickly you are left wondering if any one of them will survive, let alone ever see daylight again.

There are comparisons to be drawn to Marshall's 'Soldiers of course - again the story is stark and wonderfully economic. Again there is group of six people, predominantly one sex accompanied with a lurking, ominous threat and again there are more nods to popular film culture than you probably realise. The Descent however has a sense of humour that is suitably pitch black.

Long before the cave appears we play witness to a traumatic event that underlies the plot and serves to both unite and tear apart relationships in equal measure. Mostly affected are fragile Sarah and physically strong Juno, an adrenaline junkie who leads the group further and further beneath the ground. No time is wasted in recreating the primal feel of crawling through tunnels with hard hats scraping the dust from the rocks, choking and inducing paranoia all the way as it lingers in the stale, torchlit air. It's here Marshall gets a little inventive. Playing with various different lighting techniques our heroines become colour coded through scenes via glow-sticks, flashlights and video camera. Sounds echo when visuals are briefly lost and deliciously bone crunching they are too. Events escalate quickly and the whole ride becomes what can only be described as a non-stop relentless assault on the senses that will demand repeated viewing.

The only thing that will ruin this movie for you is word of mouth, which ironically is exactly what this film will need to become commercially viable. But the less you know, the more you will enjoy it. Have fun spotting references to Carrie and Apocalypse Now by all means, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a mere standard entry into the much saturated genre-movie staple. The Descent will rank as one of the most unashamedly terrifying British films ever made. It was made by people that love good cinema, and it shows. The Descent was made before The Cave, and now has an alternate ending for new audiences.

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