A film review by Janine Pipe

I love horror, always have done. And whilst there have been times during my life where my reading took a hit (like in the police or as a new mum), films have always been a big part of it. Before becoming parents, hubster and I went to the cinema loads. It was our regular date-night, a treat to ourselves. We had one of those unlimited passes and tried to watch a film most weeks. We saw some real shite during that time but also some classics which have remained favourites to this day.

One of those films, is The Descent. Released in 2005 this was another Neil Marshall film to follow the bloody brilliant Dog Soldiers so I didn’t even need to know the synopsis – I was already sold.

Despite being a horror junkie, I will also admit anytime something scares me and it seems to have become a bit of a running joke that I don’t like spiders or ghosts. That’s said, it takes a lot to get a physical reaction out of me during a film which is ironic since both my husband and kid regularly make me jump just walking into the same room as me … they are like ninjas …

Anyway, one of my most distinct memories of watching The Descent in the cinema was that I was scared. Now it is a scary movie and lives up to the 18 certificate. But it wasn’t the creatures, the violence or the gore that got me.

It was the caves. Oh god the caves and the tunnels and the small enclosed dark spaces they could barely even crawl through flat on their tummies just NO! Yes, you can add extreme claustrophobia to my list of fears too. Those tense moments in the cave system even before we ever see a ‘crawler’ had me curled up in the cinema chair with my feet under me as I didn’t want them on the floor, leaning into my bemused and used to it, hubby. It was atmospheric, it was stressful and it was bloody brilliant.

Asides from giving me the heebie jeebies, the other thing that makes this film stand out is the almost entirely all female cast. Apparently the original script had a mixed group entering the caves, but Marshall changed it to just women since he felt they were under represented within the genre. High Five, Neil – that is one of the many reasons you are one of MY fave directors.

The story isn’t all that original but it doesn’t need to be. The narrative works. After a tragic accident, a group of buddies decide to go spelunking to feel alive again (oops). One is harbouring a deep dark secret and makes a fatal decision in trying to rebuild a relationship. One is too gung-ho and gets them into trouble. Things go wrong and then even worse and just keep getting worser and worser right until the very end scene …

There are bits that will make you cringe, make you cry out and you’ll be biting your nails with the tension. There are jump scares, there are gross outs, there are iconic images that will stay with you long after. These women are awesome, full on bad-ass, kick-ass Lara Croft types and I loved them.

Rules to live by – don’t cheat on your friends, never go caving and always double check before you wield your pick-axe … It will therefore be no great shock to know that I give The Descent 5/5 and if you can, make sure to watch the UK ending as there is just one extra scene that makes you think, wait, what?

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Trading in a police badge and then classroom, Janine now writes full-time whilst also being a mum, wife and Disney addict. Influenced by the works of King from a young age, she likes to shock readers with violence and scare them with monsters – both mythical and man-made. When she’s not killing people off, she likes to chew the fat with other authors – reviewing books and conducting interviews for her podcast and YouTube channel. You can follow Janine Pipe on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, Podcast and Youtube.

Be sure to check out Janine’s video podcast, Crypts, Cryptids and Coffee on YouTube!

More articles by Janine Pipe
Kill River by Cameron Roubique
Dog Soldiers (2002)

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