Aug 13, 2006

The Descent: decent (plus, dissent!)

Plato once described the search for truth as a journey out of a cave. The Descent, though, makes no pretense at allegory, and thus succeeds as a tense thriller splashed with gory surprises. It starts off a chick flick and ends up a slasher flick with the moral stature (and visual appeal) of Kill Bill, as six gal pals' Appalachian spelunking trip goes from awry to horrific. Along the way: a few conventional scares, mostly capable characterization, gorgeous scenery, inoffensive dialogue, digs at American cinema, and copious bloodflow.

The movie isn't flawless. The jarring opening deflates into turgid exposition, the romantic subplot requires a hefty bit of spousal cluelessness, and the disorienting action sequences rely too heavily on quick cuts. But it still hangs together, a better Hills Have Eyes. (Though, in this one, the eyes are vestigial. You'll see.)

Sample dissent, via RottenTomatoes, comes from Claudia Puig of USA Today.
When it comes to female bonding and physical exertion, one wonders, why couldn't the group have just passed on spelunking and spent the weekend attending yoga classes at a spa?
Thank you, Claudia, for reminding us that women are just walking stereotypes.

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