Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Snakes on a Plane? No - Chicks in a Cave!


The following was started as what was intended to be a short, messy schpeil over at my Myspace account, but quickly blossomed into a full-length movie review. So I thought I'd post it here, to save you respectable folk from having to brave the murky depths of the Myspaceiverse... it's a little bit like going into a cave filled with flesh-gobbling troglyodites. Which brings me to my review of The Descent.

Should have been called The Decent...But Not As Scary As Everyone Says

The biggest inherent flaw is that there are, what, six or seven gals in this movie, and save for the one single Burt Reynoldsesque survivalist chick, they were all completely and utterly interchangable. The Teen Girl Squad of Homestar Runner fame has got more characterization than this bunch. I couldn't tell any of them from a hole in the ground (no pun intended) so I didn't really care when they started getting ate up by the cannibalistic Gollumy things. The reason I didn't use a quote from the film as a subject line is because I couldn't even remember anything that any of 'em said. I really would have liked the women to be a little more interesting, or at the very least a little more bubbly and sexy like I'm used to seeing horror scream queens. This is, after all, a b-movie about cute babes vs. the Mole People in an underground cave... I'm not really sure why the director told his actresses to play it so rigidly straight-faced.

In the plus column, the cinematography and editing were very good. I can imagine how tough it must be to light and frame shots inside a cave where there is supposed to be no natural light coming in, and they did a swell job of that. There were a lot of "booga!" moments that made me jump real good, however, making the audience jump is not the same thing (and not as skillful as) building the tension and making the terror snowball and snowball until the audience is scared crapless (think of Alien, Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, etc)

What's kind of depressing is that as half-cocked as this film was, it still looked ten thousand times better than all of the horror trailers we were shown before it. I guess the reason that critics and web-geeks are falling over themselve to revere this thing as a masterpiece is that nobody has any recollection of any scare flicks that came out in the past. And when I saw "the past", I'm not just talking about the 70's, I'm talking about this past spring. Hostel was much better than this, and so was the Hills Have Eyes remake.

If you're a big, big horror fan, and you've got $9 worth of disposable income that you're not going to miss, and you're bored, you might as well to check out The Descent. I'm not goint to say you should stay away from this film; as a matter of fact, it actually should be seen on the big screen rather than on DVD when it comes out, as I really can't imagine it having the same effect (or any effect at all). It's nothing groundbreaking, but you might have fun if you can put the hype out of your head and go into it with lowered expectations.