FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 21, 2007

The Descent reconsidered

Remember back in August when we all went on a Film Club field trip to see The Descent and I was all goo-goo over it? Well, I finally managed to get the movie on DVD (thanks, Renae!) and after watching it again months later, I must say...

I still want to make out with it.

The DVD release is the unrated version with the original unedited ending, wherein **uh, MEGA SPOILER ALERT!** Sarah does not make it out of the cave. Is it a more downbeat ending than what American audiences got in the theatres last year, where she emerges into the sunshine and escapes the crawlers? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. If she escapes the cave, Sarah might survive physically but she's obviously gone completely cuckoo nutso. She'll be dealing with the loss of everything and everyone she held dear for the rest of her life. Is that better than death? Remaining in the cave, she's "with" her daughter...and that's something- a little peace at the end, maybe. Either way, let's face it- she's royally fucked.

There's gobs of goodies included on the DVD, such as 2 commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews, and more. If you haven't seen this flick yet, you've got no excuses now. And if you haven't seen it since it was in theatres, watch it again and raise your glass to Neil Marshall.


Unknown said...

I still haven't seen how they changed the ending for the US release. Some day, I may have to find a copy of it and check it out. I just can't help it that I'm curious to see the difference...

Stacie Ponder said...

The US ending is simply a truncated version of the full-length release.

Sarah gets out of the cave and heads to the car. After she pulls over and barfs, she sees the vision of Juno in the passenger seat and screams...that's where the US version ends- she's out, but crazy. The full length version cuts back to the cave after the scream- escape was only a dream.

Anonymous said...

Here's my very belated entry for The Descent for the Final Girl film club.

also, the ugliest link chain ever.

but here's a piece of it:

I haven't seen Dog Soldiers, Marshall's first film, but having seen The Descent, I'm much more interested in it now. He makes a lot out of a little in Descent, using darkness and sound in a way that's reminiscent of The Others, but adds a claustrophobic element that got to me (I'm not afraid of small spaces, but I am freaked out about getting pinned in place or getting my arms stuck, which happens to a character.) Each of the characters has a reason to be there other than for script purposes, and with a few exceptions, nothing totally ridiculous happens.

That, and he uses jump scares in strange places and, more importantly, doesn't use them when you most expect it.

I'm not saying The Descent is perfect, but it's heads and tails better than most horror that hits theaters, and while I didn't see it this summer, I'm betting the original ending on this dvd works better. Having seen both (the truncated one simply cuts to credits before an utterly appropriate but very bleak ending, sticking instead with a jump scare) I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as much.

But this is not important, I suppose. I recommend you see it, but have learned not to hype things to the point where you think I'm crazy (don't lie, you think it anyway...) for enjoying it. So I'll leave it with a solid "check it out", and be on my merry way.

For comparisons sake, Feast is a "Get drunk and watch this", Slither is a "see this as soon as possible", and Hostel ranks a "you wouldn't believe it could be this good from the guy who made Cabin Fever"

(my hesitancy to give it a "GO SEE IT NOW" comes from the lukewarm response I got after sending people to see The Devil's Rejects without suffering through House of 1000 Corpses first)

Anonymous said...

I've got The Descent coming from Netflix to show a friend of mine.

It may not be around anymore but I found the british ending on youtube back when I saw it in the theater. It's worth searching for, I bet, for those who haven't seen it already.

The alternate ending seemed to cause a lot of people on IMDb to decide that the movie had an unreliable narrator and that very little of what we're shown on screen actually happened.

Anonymous said...

Josh, if you still haven't seen Dog Soldiers, you need to. One of the best werewolf films ever.

Anonymous said...

I actually picked it up (for $7) but haven't had the time to watch it. Believe me, I intend to.

Media Kitten said...

Hello Stacie! Longtime lurker, and finally I post!

I loved The Descent. I missed it in the theater, so I never saw the truncated ending. Boy am I glad. The original ending is just perfect.

If you are interested, here's my review...

I also second the viewing of Dog Soldiers. I saw the clipped version on SciFi awhile back, and the full cut is even better.

Stephanie R - Media Kitten

Goose said...

The Descent is the best movie ever. Even Stephen King said it was a good movie, Now if the master of horror(writing, not to be confused with his suck ass movies)likes it, it must be good.
By the way in the above entry I think I am the only person out of 13 that says fudgicle. Weird huh.

Stacie Ponder said...

Welcome Stephanie! Nice too, Josh.

I noticed, Josh, that you seem apprehensive about 'hyping' movies lest people seek them out and then hate the movie. I understand that, and it's a real crapshoot.

The way I figure it, people most likely get a feel for my likes and dislikes and then seek movies out (or don't) based on how much they jive with my likes and dislikes. If I really dig a movie, I can't help but be enthusiastic about it. It may not effect everyone in the same way, but whatevs- I'm just giving my opinion.

I mean, a dear friend really hates The Descent and I hope someday to marry it. My friend is clearly in the wrong, know, we're still friends.

I think there's a point up in there somewhere- if you guys find it, let me know.