Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Descent: Creeeepy!

"You gotta see The Descent!" This was my sister's weekly reminder, following her discovery of this gem at the Fantasia Film Festival, in Montreal. For some unexplainable reason, it took me more than a year to buy it on DVD. Brilliantly directed by Neil Marshall, The Descent (2005) tells the story of six girlfriends who set out on a leisurely caving expedition. Things go terribly wrong when they realize that 1) They have been misled into a treacherous, previously unexplored cave system, and 2) They are not alone in the dark. The picture is a little masterpiece of suspense and horror, with rock solid performances by the all-female, then-unkown cast (with the exception of a hideous... oh, well, you better see it). Most importantly, The Descent reminds us of the power of pure cinematic storytelling and that excitement is born from the creation of real, tense situations, no matter how small or confined the stage, and not from epic CGI festivals. With all the respect I have for Spielberg, there are more thrills in a single claustrophobic scene here than in his entire Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Many established directors and producers in Hollywood would benefit from a screening of The Descent, to bring them back to basics and to help them realize they are using CGI as a wooden crutch, when the patients are ill with cancer. (By the way, the movie is not German. I just posted the picture above because it's a cool shot of the cast. The official U.S. poster is available here).

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