Saturday, January 06, 2007

And into the blackness of your new soul, you must descend

Neil Marshall has followed up on the promise of Dog Soldiers with the excellent The Descent. I originally thought the movie was based on Jeff Long's book, but that is not the case (if you are a fan of the Long book, you will want to read this interview about it).

The plot of the movie is straightforward. A horrific accident wrecks a woman's life. Her friends try to rally her by planning a spelunking trip to an Appalachian cave. The caving doesn't go as planned and it turns out that something wicked lurks in the depths. While the plot is nothing special, the core character feels real and her evolution is fun to watch.

Marshall uses the cave and darkness very well in the movie. There are genuine scares, but also great feelings of claustrophobia and nervousness as much of the screen is either dark or poorly lit for much of the film. The film takes a long time to build to the crisis, which allows him to suck the viewer into this dark place. You won't be surprised that this becomes a metaphor for our main character. You may be surprised that a horror director does this well. Speaking of that subject, he has a number of films coming up including a scifi disaster picture, a Roman war movie, and a zombie movie. He has this to say about the zombie movie. "There will be some fantastic nudity in Outpost, I am devising a zombie sex scene that will be quite unique." Lovely.

Note to Americans who watched Descent in the theater. The DVD has the UK ending which is better. So rent the DVD in any case.

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