At least it's not zombies. That's the only thing I can say positive about The Descent. Otherwise it's just another 'gore for the sake of gore' horror movie, this time featuring ravenous cave creatures that are mostly human, a little bat, and all ugly.
Okay, another difference between this and boring zombie flicks is this makes you sit through about an hour of set up where the characters emote about one character's tragic loss of her husband and child, and how they feel bad they didn't stick by her during the tragedy when she needed them the most, but hey, why don't we just get drunk and go spelunking to make up for it? Then we have to watch these women find a cave entrance, maneuver themselves deeper into it, let one of them have a panic attack when she gets stuck, and then have everyone else get all pissed off (rightfully so) as they realize the gal who coordinated the trip decided to take them into uncharted and dangerous territory.
Finally when things begin to happen, it's nothing more interesting than cave creatures that want to make them into meals. Yes, it's horrifying. Yes, it's bloody and gruesome. Yes, it would be a horrible way to die. But it's nothing original, even with the albino humanoid creatures who stalk their prey by sonar like a bat, and can crawl all over the cave walls and pop out of any place the director thinks will make you jump.
Through it all there is still all this angst among the characters as one of them finally realizes through her dense fog of grief and anti-depressant medication that her dead husband cheated on her with one of her friends. That it's the friend who decided they all needed to wander around a cave that no one ever made it out of alive before, well, that's just icing on the cake, since you need at least that much to get any kind of emotional connection with these characters.
Maybe I went into this with the wrong expectations, and that's why I'm so thoroughly unimpressed. But my expectations were so low it only would have taken a few good lines, one sympathetic character, or anything original in the horror vein to make me sit up and take notice, instead of grab another cup of coffee to try and stay awake. I see the rave reviews of this, and I just don't get it. Is it because the main characters all have British accents? Is that why other people think this is a class act of a horror movie? Or is it the long, drawn out setup before you even get a glimpse of the cave dwellers? All I saw was a bunch of tripe better suited for a 'chick flick' about how someone gets their groove back than the backbone of a horror movie. Then all I saw was gore for the sake of gore, cheap tricks to try and make me jump, and an ending that just made me roll my eyes and say out loud, "Well, that was just stupid."
This is definitely a movie I won't own on DVD, or watch ever again. I was curious about it because of the hype, but now I know that The Descent is just another movie that didn't live up to it. I need more than just 'beastie wants to eat me while I cry about my feelings', and The Descent barely even delivered that.