The Descent

By Mark Ramsey | 2006/08/07

If I go down a hole in the ground I had better be surrounded by a pool.

Early on in this British movie there’s a horrible auto accident – which doesn’t surprise me because they were driving on the wrong side of the road. Note to self: Never plow into a vehicle topped with loosely fastened projectile metal poles.

But there’s an even more obvious clue that this movie is foreign: All the heroines are roughly ten years past Hollywood’s mandatory retirement age for babes in jeopardy.

And like all British movies that don’t feature Judi Dench in period gear, this one has the requisite Scottish punker chick who needs a friend good enough to tell her Sid Vicious died in 1979. She’s the one who doesn’t “give a shite,” even when she’s speaking Chinese, as in “foo-king shite.”


Why come to America and vacation in Appalachia? “Because we heard that inbreeding is the norm – just like the Royal family,” said one, feeling quite at home.

Oddly, this is the only part of America where there are no Americans. We’re a deserted country – as if there were no presidential term limits.

Deserted, that is, except for a tribe of pasty, disgusting, ravenous, cannibalistic, man-beast creatures. “We call ourselves ‘lawyers,’” said one, rather defensively.

Now it’s “caving,” but it used to be called “spelunking,” until the name “spelunking” was no longer cool, hard as that is to imagine.

But in America, the only reason six girlfriends would enter a cave would be to find reliable day care.

First, it’s time for a slumber party: Beer, popcorn, pajamas with feet, and Keanu Reeves in a poorly acted romantic comedy which, at least, leaves room for choices.

The next day, into the cave they drop.

It’s not long before they find themselves trapped and must ask the ultimate soul-searching question: “What would Princess Di do?”

Fact is, Princess Di had to face a creature with big ears – but never pointy big ones like these. These ghouls are white and blind with poor hygiene and more than a passing resemblance to Ralph Fiennes.


“I loved you in The English Patent,” said one hapless caver, as a faux Fiennes bit off her neck – which would be unheard of in Hollywood until after the ass-kiss.

Obviously, The Descent is a metaphor for the struggles of women navigating the minefields of their mid-20′s as they encounter predatory white guys, blind to their virtues, who will take their numbers and never call – or will simply eat their intestines without so much as a thank you.

“Take that, you Ralph Fiennes looking mother-f**kers!” our heroines scream as they fight for their very lives.

I was fortunate to see this movie with a bonafide Hollywood producer, who couldn’t stop shaking his head.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“No bikinis,” he said.

“Why would they wear bikinis? They’re underground in a cave?” I replied.

That’s when he looked at me like I had just said the dumbest thing in the history of Hollywood since “Sure, Mr. Shyamalan, at Warner Bros. we’ll green-light whatever you write!”

“And I suppose you feel there should be no hip hop soundtrack, too, huh?” he asked, turning to his personal assistant: “Get me Eminem! And Jessica Biel in a helmet!”

So the good folks at Lions Gate approached me for quotes about this movie for their site. Always glad to comply, here are the blurbs I sent them:

“Easily Shauna Macdonald’s best movie yet!”

“Almost more frightening than the front page of the New York Times”

“I laughed, I cried, I must have been in the wrong theater.”

For some reason, those quotes have yet to appear on The Descent website.

Was it something I said?

Scary movie. Enjoy.

Photos Copyright ©2006 Lions Gate Films

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