Movie Rating A-
The Descent written and directed by Neil Marshall is a well done homage to several different horror films over the years. Listening to the commentary Marshall must been a big fan of Deliverence, there are numerous references early in the film. Even the outfit of the character Juno is based on Burt Renyolds outfit in Deliverence.
Six girlfriends, and of course beautiful sexy girlfriends, that have known each other for years, that like to go on "adventures", a great standard for a horror movie.
But this movie works because it works on our fears of the dark and cramped places. If you suffer from any sort of clausterphobia this movie will play on that phobia.
In order to get that look the cinemaphotographers and the director did their best to shot with only the lights the characters brought with them. Consequently, this is a very dark movie, most of the movie is in near darkness, shot with only color from a flair, glow stick, helmet lamp, or flash light. I found it a great movie to see and watch. Marshall does an incredible job of sharing the feeling through shots.
When I was watching the commercials when the movie did it's original theatrical release, I was not eager to see the movie, but this is a good example of good reviews for the movie making me change my mind to see it. I orginially thought it would a simple slasher film underground. It is really much better than that, it plays to our fears fo something in the dark and not able to escape from hell, no matter how hard we try.
Transfer wise this is an extraordinary transfer. With the huge amount of blacks that occur in this film, the blacks are clean with very little noise, they did a great job on the compression side of this transfer.
In terms of extras, there are not one, but two different commentaries. I've grown not be a big fan of commentaries because often they are two hours of people either sharing inside jokes with one another or telling how great the people are that worked on the film.
There is some of that here, especially in the track with Marshall and the actresses, but it is in these tracks where you hear Marshall's love of horror movies. His love of 70s and 80s horror films trickles down to even the opening font for the credits, which according to him come from John Carpenter's work in "The Thing" and other movies. Any director that spends that much time pouring over fonts obviously cares about his material.
There is also an interview as well on the disc with Marshall, as of this writing I have not viewed it.
But the sound mix is Dolby Digital 5.1ex and that extra back channel comes in very well in surrounding the viewer in the echoes and sounds of a cave. I would always prefer a DTS mix, but it was sacrificed here to get the additional commentaries on. But the DD mix is done very well here.
I don't watch many horror films, but this one is done very well. It is not just a good horror film it is just a very good movie.