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The Descent

UK 2005
produced by
Christian Colson, Paul Smith (executive) for Celador Films
directed by Neil Marshall
starring Shauna Macconald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Nora-Jane Noone, Alex Reid, MyAnna Buring, Saskia Mulder, Molly Kayll, Oliver Milburn, Craig Conway, Stephen Lamb, Leslie Simpson, Mark Smith
written by Neill Marshall, music by David Julyan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), last years rafting trip with the girls ended with the death of her little daughter Jessica (Molly Kayll) in a carcrash ... however, this year Sarah has decided to go onto another trip with the girls (Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Nora-Jane Noone, Alex Reid, MyAnna Buring, Saskia Mulder), and this time they go caving ...

Not too good an idea actually, since Juno (Mendoza), the one who picked the cave, chose an unexplored one, and this cave ... well, isn't wuite assecure as it should be, & eventually, their exit route caves in. On top of that, another of the team, Holly (Noone) falls into a hole and breaks her leg but bad. So here are our girls, lost inside a cave, not knowing if they ever find out, with one of them badly injured, could it come any worse ?

Yes it could, since this cave is inhabited by some humanoid cave dwellers who are also cannibals. They might be blind, but they hunt by hearing. Of the girls, at first only Juno puts up a fight, and amnages to kill some of them, but accidently, she also kills her friend Beth (Reid), something she doesn't care to tell the others.

Injured Holly of course is the first who gets eaten up by the cave dwellers, the others (well, not Beth) have escaped by now, only Sarah stays behind, and only evades the cave dwellers by remaining very quiet ... and eventually, she stumbles over Beth, who isn't quite dead after all, tells her that Juno has killed her (well, not quite), and asks Sarah for a mercy killing, which she reluctantly hands out.

Later, the by now last two survivors, Sarah and Juno, meet, and when finding  themselves surrounded by cave dwellers, put up a magnificent fight and kill all their adversaries. Then, to avenge Beth, Sarah puts a blade into Juno's leg and makes off alone, virtually condemning Juno to death, since the rest of the cave dwellers are close behind ...

Then she makes it to the surface ... well no, that was just a dream, she's back in the cave, dreams of being reunited with her daughter and calmly awaits death.


Not without its moments (especially some scenes depicting claustrophobia are quite unsettling), overall the film is a disappointment nevertheless. At first an endless amount of time is spent to set up the situation (which mainly shows the girls caving endlessly and in great, boring detail), but at the same time it leaves way too many questions open (e.g. why is Juno such a tough-as-nails bitch, why do the girls meet annually for adrenaline pumping activities, and what has any of this to do with Sarah's daughter's death ?), to finally - and unexpectedly - drift off into a horror story about cave-dwellers, but ultimately - and rather unfittingly - emerge into an action flick with Sarah and Juno kicking some major butt - and the ending I just couldn't get ... now why does Sarah kill her only friend still alive, the one whe would have needed to get out of the cave ? And once again, what does any of this have to do with the death of her daughter ?


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD