The Descent

The Descent

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A group of women descend into a cave and receive more than they bargained for. Check out our take on this surprisingly original monster movie with a cast of strong women that relies on more than just a few pasty-white monsters to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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The Descent (2005)

Episode 56, 2 Guys and Chainsaw

Todd:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd. 

Craig:  I’m Craig. 

Todd:  Today’s movie is the 2005 film, The Descent. The Descent follows a group of women who go on a little bit of a vacation, kind of, I guess they’re into extreme sports. They get together different places around the world, it seems like a yearly type of event. This time they decide to go caving, and it does not go well for them. I saw The Descent in I saw The Descent in the movie theater, and absolutely loved it, when it came out. I just, fell in love with this film, and I actually had not seen it since. This is a really fun thing for me to revisit. What’s your history with this movie, Craig? 

Craig:  I saw the movie in the theater Todd. And, I I don’t remember if they just had a good marketing campaign or what, but I was really excited about it. And it was this one that I was able to convince my partner to go to with me. And we went, and we were the only ones in the theater, except for right before the movie started, this other lady came in by herself and sat about 6 rows behind us. And as we were watching it, this woman periodically got up and kept moving closer to us. I think that she was scared and wanted to be closer to other people. But, yeah, you know, I I’ve I’ve said before, my partner’s really not into the whole horror thing. It’s it’s just not his cup of tea.   But, he really liked this movie, and we both thought it was really scary. We we’ve really enjoyed it. 

Todd:  You know, the thing that I think is so scary about this movie is just its setting. I mean, more than anything else. I’ve actually, I’ve always wanted to go caving myself. I don’t really suffer from claustrophobia or anything like that. And I’ve been to a few caves, but I’ve never done what these gals do, which is, you know, strapping on a light on your helmet and getting rope and actually caving caving instead of just going on those walking tours in the safe parts of the cave. It’s it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do, and so I think that’s why this movie appealed to me at first. But then, as far as I’m concerned, the scariest parts of this movie, at least initially, are just being in this cave and all of the very natural dangers that exist when you’re caving. And I thought this movie did a fantastic job of really throwing you into that environment with these girls, and just the scariness of exploring a cave that we quickly find out, had never, according to the girls anyway, have been explored before. 

Craig:  Yeah. I agree 100%. Now this ends up being a monster movie, and the monsters are pretty cool and and scary Todd. But you’re absolutely right. What made my skin absolutely crawl, I am claustrophobic. I have absolutely no interest in doing what these ladies are doing at all. And and there are parts of this movie, you know, I can see, you know, there’s a part when they first ascend into the cave and it’s all very open and it’s very beautiful. That’s fine.   I can handle that. You know, I’ve I’ve had the same experience as you, you know, like the guided tours and stuff, and and I can do okay with that. But when they get really into the heart of this cave and they’re crawling through these passages that are just barely narrow enough or or barely wide enough for them to even squeeze through, and at times they’re not even wide enough Todd to squeeze through, It is so claustrophobic that I was literally squirming in my seat and, like, vocalizing, like, no. No. Stop. Don’t go there. I was freaking out, and I 100% agree that that is the scariest part. We’ll we’ll have to tell, a little bit of the backstory at some point.   But, the fact not only that it was so effective, it is made even more impressive by the fact that none of these sets were actual caves. The filmmakers, felt that it was too dangerous, to film in real caves. And so all of the sets were completely constructed from scratch and they look phenomenal. I mean, it looks so real. It’s completely believable. I guess if you watch more closely than I did, I was reading some, just comments from from people online. And there are some places where I guess if you’re watching carefully, you can see that, when one of the ladies maybe brushes up against a stalactite or stalagmite or whatever, you can see some movement. So obviously this wasn’t all constructed out of real stone.   Some of it, you know, moves around when they interact with it. But I didn’t notice that and and to me it felt really very real. I was actually surprised to find that, that all of these sets had been constructed. 

Todd:  Yeah. And I and I was actively looking for the seams. You know? I I was looking for, repetition. You know, in a lot of these kind of movies, if you know, it would be very expensive to do a a full on cave set, because these women explore quite a bit of caves. So you imagine that they’re gonna reuse parts of the set. You’re gonna maybe see rocks later on in the cave that you saw earlier. Maybe they’re trying to film it from a different angle just to make it look like a different part of the cave. I I couldn’t find any of that, you know.   I was really impressed. I guess they did, like, 21 cave sets, and they did do some creative reusing of some of the the pieces, but I couldn’t tell. I absolutely couldn’t tell. And, I mean, a lot of it too was shot in a lot of darkness, and that’s another thing Mhmm. That’s another place where I think the cinematography really excels. And that is Todd it’s not so dark that you can’t see anything. You know, sometimes movies can be so dark that you have a hard time 

Craig:  And that makes me so mad? 

Todd:  Yeah. Right? It’s really annoying. 

Craig:  It makes me so mad when you can’t even see what’s going on. It makes me it just infuriates me. And that’s not the case here. If anything, you know, they do a lot of really cool stuff with lighting. Like, the girls have various lighting instruments. Like, they have road flares and they have, like, these big, like, green luminescent light sticks. And, they have flashlights and they do different stuff with, like, they have a camcorder that they have night vision on. And so there’s various effects.   If anything, I felt that sometimes it was a little bit unrealistically bright for being supposedly 2 miles down in a cave. And it seemed like the lighting was sometimes coming from sources other than the light sources that they had with them. But I would much rather that than having it be so dark that I couldn’t tell what was going on. That infuriates me in movies, and it’s not the case here, fortunately. 

Todd:  Yeah. That’s right. The lighting was never really distracting, but it did, at the times when it needed to be, give you a very believable sense of what it might be like to be in a cave with limited lighting. 

Craig:  So the backstory is important. I mean, you’d already mentioned that, it appears that this is kind of maybe an annual thing that this group of girls gets together to do. And it seems like there’s kind of a core three of the girls. There’s Sarah who is our main character and then she has a friend Beth and they seem to be very tight. And then there’s a third of them or a third one, named Juno who, is of Eastern descent, it appears. And those 3 seem to be the core. And then it seems like maybe the other 3 girls that are with them, Rebecca and Sam, who are, sisters, and Holly, who is seemingly kind of a new friend of Juno’s. I don’t know if this whole group has been together before, but definitely those 3 have history.   Sarah, Juno, and Beth. And when we first meet them, it opens up, they’re whitewater rafting. And, this is apparently they’re reaching their destination. Sarah’s husband and daughter are there waiting for them. And they come through, you know, down this river in the white water and and all of that is done practically. Somebody pushes Juno in the water. It’s all in good fun. Everybody seems to be having a good time.   Somebody pushes Juno in the water. It’s all in good fun. Everybody seems to be having a great time. Sarah leaves with her husband Paul and their young daughter, who I would guess was maybe 4 or 5, she’s sitting in the car seat on their way home, she’s kind of sitting in the center in the back seat in her car seat. And Sarah’s talking to her and, she, seems a little bit distracted for some reason. And her husband Paul turns to look at her, to talk to her, and you see approaching them right away, this car coming right at them. And it seems like Paul is veering a little bit over into the wrong lane, and they crash. And it’s a terrible, terrible accident.   Sarah wakes up in the hospital. First, she has a little kind of dream, where she sees her daughter sitting with a birthday cake. But then she she fully wakes up and, she starts exploring the hospital kind of it it seems kind of desolate. I don’t know if this was still kind of her supposed to maybe still kind of be in a dream or she’s not fully, you know, conscious yet, but, there’s nobody else around and suddenly the lights start going off. And it’s kind of that classic horror movie shot where somebody’s running down a hallway and they’re just kind of trying to race the lights as they go off 1 by 1. But eventually, she runs into the arms of her friend Beth, and, Beth comforts her and tells her that her daughter is gone. And of course, she breaks down on the floor in the hospital, and and Juno is there Todd. And she’s clearly, very upset also.   And then we skip to a year later, and it’s, Sarah and Beth, and they are on their way to meet with Juno and some of these other girls to go on this caving trip. So then we’re introduced to the other characters. You know, they they’re converging in these cabins. Juno checks in with Beth and says, you know, how is Sarah doing? And Beth says, well she’s here so you know, it must be better. And then we just kind of have a little bit of exposition. It’s not very long where they basically just do kind of girly slumber party stuff. They drink and they, you know, talk and have a good time and it’s the next morning when they get up that they are gonna head into this cave. And and, they, drive out there.   It’s supposedly in Chattanooga State Park, I think, which is, if I remember correctly, it’s, a fictional park, but it was supposed to be based on the same forest that and river that, Deliverance was set in. Mhmm. And and and they find the cave. Right before they find the entrance to the cave, they find this big, huge dead deer, that they are curious about, but not much is made of it at that point. And then they get into the cave. They spelunk down into this huge hole, and, from there, the rest of the movie takes place in these caves and what they have to go through in there. 

Todd:  That’s right. And leading up to this, there are a couple small elements that, you know, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it first. I don’t know if you picked up on this at all, Craig, or if it’s just something I read into the movie, but during that opening sequence, when they get out of the water after white water rafting, Juno gets out, and I think she sees Sarah’s husband there really quick, and, she takes her helmet off, and it seems like they exchange some kind of look. And then when he goes over with his daughter to greet Sarah, she kind of looks after them. And I got this sense that maybe there was an affair or some kind of illicit relationship going on, or even just some jealousy between, Juno and Sarah’s husband. Did you did you pick up on that at all? 

Craig:  I did this time, but I don’t know if I picked up on it because I was looking for it. Because as   it turns out, that is the case.   Okay. Yeah. We don’t we don’t find out until much later in the movie, but it it is the case that, Juno has had some sort. We don’t know if it’s ongoing, we don’t know if it’s in the past, I don’t know. But she there was something going on. So this time I was specifically looking for it and yeah, there seemed to be maybe some little furtive glances, or whatnot. If you weren’t looking for it, I don’t know that you would notice, but, it’s subtle, but yes, I did pick up on it too. 

Todd:  Yeah. And and also, I think, Juno makes some kind of comment in the cabin too about how you’re not the only one who lost something that or we all lost something that day, which seems to be imbued with some meaning there. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s but that is about all of the character development that I think really happens in this film. Maybe my only criticism, and I actually it’s not really a criticism because I didn’t really miss it, is that you don’t get to know these characters too well on a deeply personal level before they go into the the cave and things start happening to them. You don’t get a lot of backstory. It’s more the backstory of events.   It seems to be, as far as I am concerned, more of a plot driven movie than a character driven movie. And that’s not a knock on it, it’s just, I think, the kind of movie it is. Except for this relationship between, Sarah and Juno, and the fact that, it’s pretty obvious that Holly, for example, is is kind of a headstrong, maybe one of the more reckless of the group, you don’t get those carbon copy type, you know, where each character here has their own particular personality quirk and their own particular issue that they have to solve or whatever. You just you don’t see that, which is actually, I think, a good thing. It it’s a little less formulaic in that way than another other movies might, you know, try to do. I I think particularly, like, of other films with large casts, ensemble casts that are thrown into messed up situations. Maybe the Saw franchise or something like that, where it seems like each person has their own quirk, and they have to work through it. Oh, Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s kinda the same way.   Right? Friday the 3rd definitely is not. Usually, those characters are pretty stock. These characters Right. Are seem like real people without coming across as stock, you know? 

Craig:  Yeah. I completely agree with that. I I I don’t think that they’re without character though. I just feel like there’s really no need for us to know a whole lot about their backstory. They seem like real people. And I think that because I was watching this one more closely than I did the first time around, I noticed little things. Like I hadn’t realized in the past that Rebecca and Sam were sisters. But paying close attention, seeing that dynamic, you really do see them interact like sisters.   You know, they’re really kind of primarily concerned about one another. And, you know, Sam is established early on as being a med student, and that kind of somewhat comes into play a little bit later. Like you said, Holly’s the more reckless one. That’s that’s kind of, significant later. So, right, they’re not given we we’re not given a complete character sketch of any of the characters, but they feel real. And it it feels like a real group of of women, who might find themselves in this situation, aside from mutant monster bat people. I don’t know how realistic that is. But like you said, you know, initially, what’s so scary about it is the actual dangers of cave diving.   You know, they, first of all, all of the girls think that this is a chartered cave system because Juno has told them that it is. And in fact, Juno has had Beth do some sort of call. I don’t know what it is. I’m not a caver, so I don’t know how this works. But apparently, they they they’ve spoken to park rangers or something so that if they weren’t to show up where they were supposed to be at a certain time, people would know to come look for them. As it turns out, that’s no good because Juno lied and they are actually in an unexplored system. But it’s when they start, you know, like I said, at first it’s kind of this big cavernous beautiful cave, but then they have to go down this really deep chute, to get more into the interior. And again, even once they’re down there, it’s still kind of big and open.   They they throw a flare, and the flare kind of illuminates red, this big open cave. And Sarah kind of feels like maybe she hears noises, but she’s kind of been having auditory hallucinations hearing her daughter laugh, ever since the accident. So she kind of it seems like she kind of brushes it aside initially. But when they actually start moving deeper into the cave, that is when I was just on the edge of my seat. They are crawling through these tiny, tiny crevices, passages into larger, areas of of the cave. And, it just made me so uncomfortable. Like I had a physical reaction in my body. My heart was Craig.   My I was tense. I was shaking. And and they do a really good job with that, to the point where I I think it’s the first passage they go through. It’s either the first or second, very narrow passage they go through. Sarah kinda has a panic attack. She gets stuck, and she panics.   Are you still behind me? Jess. Sarah. Guys, it’s Sarah. I think she might be stuck. I am stuck. Alright, Sarah. Calm down. Just relax.   And, before they had even gone down, Rebecca, on their as they were hiking towards the cave, had started listing all of these things that can potentially go wrong in caving expeditions. People can get paranoid. They can get disoriented. They can get claustrophobic. They can have hallucinations. And we start to see that, you know? Sarah starts to freak out, and, Beth has to go back into this narrow cave to kind of talk her down and to get her calmed down to the point where they can get her through. And finally, she does dislodge herself and she starts coming through, but then the earth starts grumbling and the rocks start shifting and the cave starts to cave in, and they have to really quickly get out of there, and the tunnel closes behind them. And at that point, this is when they realize, you know, Rebecca, who had studied the cave system that Juno had told her that they were going to be, she says, this just doesn’t seem right, but there’s there’s there’s several exits.   And Juno says, no, there’s not. This isn’t that cave system.   Come on, Rebecca. I didn’t know this was gonna happen. This is exactly hasn’t got a name It hasn’t got a name. It’s a new system. I wanted us all to discover it. No one’s ever been down here before.   And, of course, as I would be, they’re absolutely furious with her, but they’re in no position really to do anything but work together to try to find their way out. And so that in and of itself is scary, and then that’s kind of when the monster movie picks up. But the when they get into 1 chamber, Sarah is swiping her, flashlight around, and I noticed the first time in the theater, and maybe it was because it was in the theater and it was such a large screen, I noticed a man like silhouette up in one of the on one of the rocks in the cave. When she sweeps by it, it’s there. And when she sweeps back, it’s not. She doesn’t notice, but I definitely did. But it’s not until, like, this is, a movie that’s, I think, an hour and 35 minutes, hour and 40 minutes long, something like that. It’s not until 45 or 50 minutes into the movie that we even see one of these creatures who are the main protect or antagonist in the movie. 

Todd:  That’s true. Although if you are paying close attention in one of those larger scenes early on in the film when they first get down in the cave, it might be when they’re first in there or a couple minutes later, you do see another silhouette on the far left, which you could easily mistake for another person in the group, but it’s definitely there as well. I mean, if again, if you’re looking for it, you can see it. But you’re right. We it’s it’s very subtle that you get these hints that are so subtle, they’re easy to miss. That’s, again, one of the thrilling parts of this movie, is that even if you come into it knowing that it’s a monster movie, you’re pretty scared out of your mind just about them being in this unexplored cave. Now I thought that the idea that one of these groups of girls would be so reckless as to drop them into this place that it just raises a lot of odd believability questions. I mean, first off, how did she find this cave system then? 

Craig:  How far 

Todd:  deep did she go into it before she decided, yep, this is something we should explore? And also, what is the fun of throwing your friends unknowingly into this cave system? You go all the way through it, and then at the end you go, oh, hey, by the way, that cave system that you thought you were in, it really isn’t it. Isn’t it cool we just explored a cave that nobody’s ever been in before? I mean, the fun of doing something like that is knowing it from the beginning, right? Is going through it from the beginning and going, oh, we, you know, we’re the first humans through here. We’re the first humans through here. So the idea that she would just keep this a secret Todd to just bring it on them at some time later in the future just seemed like an odd thing for anybody Todd do. And I felt that was kind of a bit of a plot hole here. 

Craig:  You know what? I disagree with you on that because I think that what they’re trying to establish is that Juno is selfish. She doesn’t think about other people. She only thinks about herself. At some point, Sarah even kind of confronts her. I don’t remember if Sarah says anything or if she just gives Juno a look or something like that. And, Juno said, I did this for us. And Sarah says, Yeah. You did it for you.   And, Juno says, No. You know, I I did it for us. I thought we could name it. And and Sarah says, Yeah. Your name. So it seems like this is kind of a characteristic that they are aware of. You know, they’re friends, but I think that they are kind of aware that she’s selfish by nature, which is also you know, when we find out that she’s been having an affair with her friend’s husband, you know, that just goes to further show that she only she doesn’t think about other people. She doesn’t think about their feelings or their safety.   She’s only concerned about herself. And so it didn’t seem unrealistic to me. It just seemed like that was a flaw in her character, and and that she would do something dishonest in that way. 

Todd:  Yeah. Just boy, it’s an awfully big leap of dishonesty. You know? I mean, it’s and again Oh, 

Craig:  and it’s such a huge risk. Yeah. You know, supposedly supposedly, you know, she’s an experienced, explorer of caves. Anybody who is an experienced explorer of caves would know never to go down there with people who are unprepared, and never ever to go down there without letting somebody know where you are. And that that doesn’t make any sense at all. So so I I get where you’re going. 

Todd:  Yeah. I just feel like, you know, her own sense of self preservation is pretty warped, in order for that to to all kind of make sense. I don’t know. It bothered me, but I mean, I see exactly what you’re saying, and of course Todd does service that plot element and that character flaw, that they’re trying filmmakers are trying to point out. I I just thought it was just a little too much, for me to to swallow that this woman as selfish as she might be would throw all of her friends in danger for the thrill of exploring a new cave, and then withhold from them the very notion that they’re exploring a new cave, presumably until they’re done exploring it. But there’s other stuff for them to deal with as well. Now that they know they have to proceed through the cave, they’re a little more willing to go through more dangerous things because they have no choice now. They can’t turn back and go back out the way they came, and they come across this giant chasm that they have to cross.   I thought this scene was extremely tense and exciting as well. Mhmm. And I assume that even though they’re inexperienced cave cavers, it seems like the girls do these extreme sorts of sports, are into them. So at least 1 or 2 of them has done climbing, mountain climbing. And so Mhmm. I don’t remember who is it, Holly who goes across first? This cast 

Craig:  no. It’s it’s one of the sisters. It’s, oh, gosh. I don’t remember. 1 of the sisters. It’s either Rebecca or Sam. 

Todd:  Right. And so they have this really tense scene where they basically are climbing across, hanging from the ceiling, and putting in anchors into the rock above, string rope through it, both for safety and Todd be able to get another rope across there so that the other gals can get across. It’s a really intense scene, and one thing that makes it even more intense is when she’s almost all the way across and she sees what is obviously an anchor there an older style anchor, but somebody has been there before, which raises all these questions in your mind, like, what happened to them? This isn’t as unexplored after all. And also, like, there’s only one here. I wonder how successful they were at crossing the chasm. So it’s a bit spooky, and it’s a neat element, I thought, to throw into this movie. They do manage Todd, make it across, but it does injure, one of the girls’ hands. I believe it’s is it Becca who is holding the 

Craig:  girl’s foot? It’s Becca. I I found it in my notes. It’s Becca who sets the line. Mhmm. And then, yeah, it’s her hand that gets ripped because Juno falls. They’ve lost one of their in the cave in, one of their rope bags got left behind, and and they can’t get back to it. So they need all of the equipment they can get. So Juno is the last one who crosses over, but then she has to remove all of the anchors, so that they’ll and and the ropes so that they’ll have it for later if they need it.   And and she’s tied in, but she she falls. And and Becca is holding the rope, and, of course, it burns, and and cuts her hand. But, you know, they’re okay. They they pull Juno up, and, they keep going from there. And that’s when they go into another chamber where they find cave paintings.   Do not look at it. What do you see? But the mountain, the cave, and there’s 2 entrances. Miss, there’s another way out? Let’s find out.   So that gives them a little bit of hope that there may still be a way out of this, and Holly takes off running. As they, are are falling after Holly, the camera lingers back in that room, and we kind of see in silhouette one of these creatures. And it’s you know, we don’t see it in in light. It’s just in silhouette, but it’s clearly some kind of creature. It’s drooling onto the rocks. And she ends up falling down another shaft, and breaking her leg. Ugh.   They are able   to get down they’re able to get down to her yeah. And it’s really gross. It’s one of those deals where you see the bone jutting out. Ugh. Yeah. It gives you the heebie jeebies. But it’s down there while Sam, who’s the med student, while she is trying to set Holly’s leg, again, Sarah thinks she hears something. She hears some strange clicking sound, and she goes to explore, and she’s shining her light around, and she shines her light directly on one of these humanoid creatures.   There’s no question this time that she sees it. She sees it fully lit in the beam of her flashlight, and, this is the first one of the best looks that we get of the creatures. They’re obviously nocturnal. They’re all white, completely pale. And they were designed, I read, to look like Nosferatu from the old black and white movie. And they do. 

Todd:  Like a very juicy and gross Nosferatu. 

Craig:  And they, I think, are genuinely scary. You know, we’ve seen this idea many times before. You know, these underground dwellers, going, you know, all the way back to H. G. Wells and the time machine and that type of thing. But these have a really distinctive look. They have kind of a vampiric look about them, but it’s maybe even a little bit more bat like, more Gollum like. They’ve got kind of pointed ears, white dead eyes.   They’re hairless and slimy. They’ve got these, you know, incredibly sharp teeth. They appear to be some sort of humanoid, and they’ve definitely got human characteristics. You know, they have the physique of a human being, but they are certainly far from human. And I thought that the creature effects here were excellent. I found them to be genuinely scary. 

Todd:  Yeah. They really were. And also, when they film the creatures, moving around, they do some tricks with the camera where they’ll speed things up a little bit, or they’ll drop frames. So they also at first seem to have a kind of different way of moving. So even though they seem human and I don’t know about you, but I imagined, you know, after all was said and done, that maybe when you’re trying to think of an origin for these creatures, that maybe these are, like, earlier humans that just are in the process of evolving and never really did, and just ended up evolving into these night creatures inside this cave. They’ve got that human appearance, but then their muscles and you know, the way their movements and things really adapted to be able to scurry across the ceiling or to be able to, you know, climb around the rocks really quite easily. And of course, here’s one of those situations where you’re in their world. They have the distinct advantage over you, and that alone is scary, because not only are these women in a situation where one of them has a broken leg, and they’re inexperienced climbers, but they’re now in the den of this these monsters who know every corner and know every angle.   And even though the monsters clearly have, some limitations, obviously, they they they work out pretty quickly that they’re blind, and so they can only hear, and that works out to the women’s advantages at certain points. But, of course, the women can’t really see that well either in these dark caves, and their lights are gonna be going out. So they were relying on sound between the them in order to meet up and find each other, so they can’t help but call out at certain points in the movie just to be able to orient themselves and to find each other, which of course brings more monsters in. And you also never get a sense of how many monsters there are either. They do climb up over this ledge at one point and into a bunch of bones. And, they pull one of the cameras, the camera side that has the infrared on it, and they look out across it, and they can see that there is just 100 upon 1000 of bones from carcasses, long dead in there, which again is a good thing because it tells you that there must be a way out that’s near here because how do these bones get in here from the outside? But then it’s a very ominous and scary thing, like what is eating up all these creatures that we don’t know about? So Right. Yeah, it’s, it’s it’s really a neat setting, and for a monster movie, it’s really well played, I think. Just the whole creature design, the atmosphere, the place the creatures are, the fact that we don’t know how many there are, is this a clan of creatures? Is this one, that they have to overcome? All of those things become a little more clear, as they go on and and essentially battle these creatures throughout the cave Mhmm.   In their efforts to get out. Right. 

Craig:  And all from this point, everything happens really quickly. Well, Sarah sees it, and then she comes back to the other women and says, I for sure saw something this time. I can tell you exactly what it looked like. They think that she’s just paranoid, that she’s hallucinating. But it’s when they they get out the, infrared camera. One of them starts swinging it around, and she’s swinging it around, looking at the other women and the frame swings to 2 of the girls and one of the creatures is standing right behind them. 

Todd:  Oh man. 

Craig:  And so that’s I love oh my gosh. It’s there’s lots of jump scares in this movie, and I’m not usually a big huge fan of jump scares, but there are pretty effective ones in this one. And I remember literally jumping, in the theater at that one and and maybe screaming a little bit too. But from that point on, everything moves really quickly. Once they see that one, they really fall under attack right away, at least 2 or 3 of these creatures. And the creatures first go for Holly because she is injured. Somehow, Sarah gets separated. I feel like she falls somewhere and is unconscious for a minute.   Sam and Becca get separated off together by themselves. Juno is left Todd, try to defend Holly. She’s trying to protect Holly because Holly can’t protect herself, but she’s failing. You know, these creatures are eating Holly. They’re pulling her away, and they’re attacking her as well. And Juno puts up a really good fight. She takes a couple of them out. And then in in what is, you know, a very scary moment for her, she hears something behind her and presuming that it’s another one of the creatures, she swings around with her climbing pick and nails Becca right or no, not Beth Becca, excuse me, nails Beth, right through the neck.   I mean, it’s it’s clearly a a fatal blow. There’s not gonna be any recovering from that. And, there’s really nothing that she can do but to leave her there, and that’s what she does. But we see that after she leaves, we see that Becca had grabbed her necklace, off of her neck, grabbed Juno’s necklace off of her neck and is holding it. And that becomes important later. At this point, it’s difficult to even talk about what goes on next because everything happens so fast. You know? What what do you think? 

Todd:  Yeah, you’re right. It it really is. I mean, things happen quickly. Sarah ends up kind of watching the creatures descend and eat Holly because she’s got the camera, but she’s trying to be quiet. Juno, it seems like they have discovered the way out, but Juno says they’re not gonna leave without Sarah. And so there’s just a lot of stuff that goes on. And honestly, even for me watching the film, it was really hard to tell sometimes who was who and where they were at any given point. But Sarah finds Beth, and eventually, and you know that earlier scene you were mentioning where, where Juno ends up leaving Beth, it’s really quite sad.   Obviously, it’s sad because of what just happened, and it didn’t have to go that way, but also because Beth reaches out and in her gurgling keep in mind she can’t really say anything much, because of her throat, but she does say don’t leave me. And the fact that Juno ends up leaving her I know, you know, like you kind of said, there’s really nothing more she could do for her, and she’s just really putting herself in more danger by hanging out. What are you gonna do? But in the same sense it’s so tragic, that this girl’s going to have to die alone, that she pleads for her not Todd, and she leaves anyway. And I think the movie is trying to set us up here for this moral quandary of sorts. It’s not only is Juno a reckless person, but maybe she’s, not she’s well, again, she’s extremely selfish. She’s just looking out for number 1. Although I didn’t feel that that was a 100% true, that seems to be the brush that she gets painted by with her friends. Yes.   And when her other friends find out, that through the necklace, one of her who was it who comes in? It’s Sarah, who comes in and discovers Beth, as Beth is still not Todd. But Sarah’s holding the necklace and puts 2 and 2 together, that this was a mortal wound, and that maybe even Beth is able to kinda say some things to her. 

Craig:  I heard you not calling me. I’m gonna go and find it, and we’re gonna come back, and we wanna get there. What? What? She did this to me. What? What? She left me. No. She no. Sir, baby.   But then she shows her the necklace and she says, oh, yeah. That is Juno’s necklace. And she said, it’s from Paul, and Paul was her husband. Now this and and Sarah looks at the back of the necklace and it engrades with some romantic, message like love every day or something like that. And so Sarah comes to the realization now, that Juno had had an affair with her husband, and perhaps that’s why she was so upset, after the accident. But again, you had kind of a problem with the writing with with Juno getting them down in the cave. I kinda have a problem with the writing here. Why wouldn’t Beth have told Sarah this before? That doesn’t make any sense to 

Todd:  me. Yeah. 

Craig:  Why would she continue to be friends with Juno and allow Sarah to be friends with Juno if she knew that Juno was having an affair with Sarah’s husband? That doesn’t make sense to me, and I I don’t really know how to resolve that. 

Todd:  Yeah. It it that that I I agree with you. I feel like that was really shoehorned in, and her discovery of it’s really shoehorned in. And it’s all kind of a it’s all pretty convenient, you know, that she grabbed a necklace, and it happened to be a necklace with the thing, and that Sarah, even in her state of mind, is gonna put 2 and 2 together. And honestly, you’re in the caves and you’re struggling to live. At some point, I don’t feel like your brain is gonna let you dwell too hard on the fact on these these facts of events that happened in the past. You’re probably a lot more focused on getting out of there, and and I don’t want to say willing to let things slide, but you’re you’re not gonna sit and have an emotional moment. And although, you know, I get that Sarah’s coming unhinged here.   She’s been unhinged through this whole thing. Maybe she is just sort of slipping into her own, self, And Mhmm. That’s this just adds to that. 

Craig:  Well, they needed to get it in there to justify the ending, which I am excited to talk about. So I kinda wanna get there quickly. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  Let’s do that. The, you know, other stuff happens. Like you said, Juno and and, Becca and Sam hook back up together. The 2 sisters wanna get out of there, but Juno says, No, I’m not leaving without Sarah. Eventually, their, Rebecca and Sam get killed. Sarah and Juno get hooked back up together. Sarah gives Juno an opportunity to tell her the truth about what happened with Beth, but Juno doesn’t. She just lets or or attempts to let Sarah go on believing that, that, Beth was killed by by the creatures.   And there’s some other cool scenes, you know, at some point there’s a battle. Sarah kills one of the creatures that appears to be a child creature and then what I presume is its mother comes and is angry, of course. And I thought that was kind of cool to give the creatures some kind of depth. They’re not just, killing machines, you know. Whatever their way of life is, they do have 1, and and a mother is so protective of her kid, and they end up fighting in this big blood pit. That’s kind of a cool scene. But what it comes down to is Sarah and Juno are together, and a bunch of these, creatures descend upon them, and they have this big battle. And it’s a really good scene, and both of these women really hold their own.   They’re both kicking some monster but But but they they basically win, and then they’re just standing there, face to face, Juno and Sarah. And Sarah has her pick or her pickaxe at the ready, and from her hand, the same hand that is holding, the pickaxe, she allows Juno’s necklace to fall and dangle. And Juno sees it, and they just share these this look, like Juno realizes that Sarah knows the truth. And then Sarah rears up her ax and puts it right through Juno’s knee and takes off, leaving Juno behind to be presumably devoured by these approaching creatures. What did you think there? 

Todd:  Ugh. I don’t know, man. Again, I feel like if these women just made it out of this battle, they’re not gonna stop and share this moment where now this woman is not at all worried about any more monsters coming to her, and worried about the cave thing, but is going to turn on her friend and try to resolve this at this moment. I still feel like it’s a little more realistic that their primary goal is to get out of the cave, and they’re gonna get out of the cave first and then have their moment. So again, you know, it was a cool scene. It added some drama to the film. I didn’t feel it was particularly realistic, And also, what, she she she whacked her leg. That’s pretty cruel that she didn’t just if she wanted to offer, she didn’t just offer.   It seems like she, in a sort of premeditated way, did something that the Sarah that we saw before she went in the cave wouldn’t have ever considered, which is not just off her friend, but do it in a very cruel manner. But it can be argued, obviously, look, this woman’s been through a lot. She’s been suffering for at least a year or 2, with this knowledge. She’s been unhinged for a while, and this is just what set her off. And then of course, the whole movie has these shades of deliverance where or, you know, the hills have eyes. It’s in fact, there are visual references to those movies, throughout the movie. Where it is, the fact that humans, when put in this situation that’s unfamiliar, really turn into survival mode and do become monsters in their own right. And so again, I can see where it’s going with it.   I just thought it was it was a kind of a convenient and sloppy way of doing it. 

Craig:  I think that I understand where they’re going with it too, and and I think that the title is suggestive of that. You know, it’s not just a descent into the caves, but it’s a descent into madness or a descent into kind of this primordial state, and and I get that. But it just bothers me, you know? It makes me lose sympathy for Sarah. And I think that, you know, why does she get her in the leg and not the head? Well, my feeling is maybe she wants it’s a tactic to slow the creatures down. If they have to stop and deal with Juno first, that maybe buys her a few extra seconds. That’s what I was thinking. But yeah, it does seem really cruel. And okay, I get Todd.   Juno killed, Beth, but it was an accident. And yes, Juno had an affair with her husband, but is that still something that she deserves to die for? I don’t know. I I think that, the filmmakers were were throughout the movie trying to really heavy hand it so that we wouldn’t feel as much sympathy for Juno. But I just ended up feeling really bad for her, you know, not even having an opportunity to try to make amends, especially since the 2 sisters had wanted to leave Sarah a long time ago and Juno wouldn’t leave. She wouldn’t leave without Sarah. Doctor. Yeah. Doctor.   And of course Sarah doesn’t know that, but it’s just you know, it’s it’s a sad irony. And I I don’t know. It it leaves me unsettled, but maybe that’s what they were going for. 

Todd:  Yeah. And and I know where you’re going with this. And I think that that maybe is intentional when you look at the ending that you and I saw in the theater. Now Right. Were you as shocked as I was when you saw this ending now in the home version that we watched? Because No. Because I’ve seen 

Craig:  it before. Oh, you have. Okay. Mhmm. Yeah. I had seen it before. 

Todd:  Now in the theater, I felt like the ending was really good. I really liked the ending, which apparently is not the ending that the rest of the world saw. And the ending was that of course Sarah climbs her way out of the cave, she runs to the car there, which she’s able to do. I mean, she goes through woods and woods and woods to to make it back. This is all compressed, of course, for time. Mhmm. She gets back to the car that’s still there, starts it up, and just starts driving away. And you’re thinking, oh, is there gonna be a creature in the car? Is she being pursued? What’s going on? But clearly, she gets far enough away that she just pulls over by the side of the road and just just has to take a moment.   Car comes up behind her, kind of honks, and kind of jolts her into, reality. Anyway, she kind of throws up out the window, sits there catching her breath, and turns around, and Juno is there in the seat next to her. Now I think it was pretty clear, at least this is the way I interpreted it in the film, when I saw it in the theater. This isn’t really Juno, but it’s a vision of Juno that now she is going to be haunted by Juno, by what she did, and by what’s happened there. It’s a really bleak kind of ending that again, shows what you just said, this descent into madness. And so even though she’s made it out, things are not all happy and rosy for her again. And I liked that ending because it kind of did what a lot of other horror movies don’t do, where you have all of these people who go through this horrible situation, most of them end up getting killed, one person comes out ahead, and then boom, we’re all happy and we all kind of walk away, and maybe me and my boyfriend got out at the same time, and so there’s no reflection upon the incredible loss that you have now endured and are gonna have to live with throughout the rest of life. I don’t expect that from a movie, but I’m just saying it’s it’s an obvious, you know, deficiency at the end of a lot of these movies, which I felt like that movie hit head on with that ending.   And then it ends abruptly and forces you to think about 

Craig:  it like, jeez, jeez, just Sarah’s screwed. You know? She’s still screwed. She’s just even more unhinged than 

Todd:  she was before, and this isn’t gonna end well for her. So I really dug that ending, but of course the ending that the director originally shot that was put out there is the one that we saw. And that in itself is very interesting, actually, but I didn’t feel like it was as powerful. 

Craig:  Well, so it leads up to, you know, right where you said the American version ended. But after you get that jump scare of Juno in the car, it cuts back to inside the cave and we see that Sarah is is still inside the cave. That all of that we had seen, her emerging out of the cave and everything that had happened in the car, all of that had been either a dream or hallucination. And she’s still in the exact same place in the cave that she was. And like earlier in the movie, after when she had had that dream or hallucination of her daughter and the birthday cake, again she sees her daughter sitting in front of her smiling with a birthday cake and the, the camera starts to, to pull back, and we see her looking as though her daughter is still there, like looking at something, but there’s nothing there. You know, it’s it’s it’s clear that she’s just imagining this, and we hear the creatures in the background and they’re getting louder and presumably closer, and so we presume and then it it it cuts to black, and that’s the end. So we presume that she never got out. I don’t know.   I don’t know which ending I like better. I like them both. I left feeling very satisfied, leaving the theater here in the States. I was very satisfied with that ending. And, when the home video release came out, I rented it and watched it not knowing that there was a different ending. And so when it happened, I was like, What? What’s happening? This isn’t how I remember it at all. But I do I have to both endings are bleak. But the idea that she never gets out, I almost feel like that’s I don’t know.   I I I kind of I kind of like it. It’s it feels more realistic that her descent into madness ends there, that it doesn’t continue on. And I almost wish that it had been that way because the American version gave way to a sequel, which is so below the quality of the original that it’s barely even worth seeing. Ugh. Have you seen the sequel? 

Todd:  No. I haven’t. I I imagined it probably wasn’t because I don’t think the original writer director was involved, Neil Marshall. Maybe he was a producer on it, but I don’t think he he was involved in the production of that film or the or the writing of it. Am I right about that? No. I haven’t seen it. I I haven’t seen it. 

Craig:  I don’t remember. All I know is they take away everything that’s good about the movie. The claustrophobia, the natural danger, the relationships between the women, the motivations of the women, and they just focus on the creatures and different ways that people can get killed by the creatures, and it’s far more gory. There’s lots more blood. There’s lots more violence. And there’s just there’s no heart to it at all. I mean, it feels like a cash grab, capitalizing on the first one. The premise doesn’t even make any sense.   Sarah gets rescued, and immediately there’s a police investigation because her friends didn’t come out. And this, like, big shot Texas cop is convinced that Sarah went down in that cave and killed all of her friends. So he’s going to lead a team to go down there to try to find the friends, and he makes Sarah come   with them, like the very next day.   Oh. And it it just doesn’t even make any sense. It doesn’t make sense that they would make her go down there, or it doesn’t make any sense that she would agree to go down there. And, it it’s I don’t know. They they play it on TV a lot and it’s just, I I wouldn’t even recommend it. I mean, if if you’re stuck somewhere where that’s the only thing that you have to watch, go for it. But if you have other choices, I would pass. 

Todd:  Well, you know, it you’re right. It it it clearly takes what makes this movie such a standout film. It takes all those elements and just trades them in for another typical monster movie, essentially. And and as part of that introduction of a man, I mean, what I really liked about this film was the all female cast. It’s just something 

Craig:  you do 

Todd:  not see very often. And, I mean, what a cool choice to do that. Then you don’t have these these you have strong women in here, you have leaders, you don’t have this trope that you get so much, where the man kind of has to save everybody, or the man should be able to save everybody, but he can’t because, you know, he’s impotent in some way, or the man, the big strong buddy gets his comeuppance and whatnot. You don’t have any of those dynamics in this film. You you don’t even it just makes it feel fresh. It makes it feel fresh for the horror genre. No love interest thing going on either. Right.   You know? These are just friends, and they’re relying on each other, and they have complicated friend relationships. Yeah. It’s just I’ve I’ve really dug that about this movie, and maybe that’s a good part of what draws me to it as well and makes it so different and unique. Of course, also, it it just has shades of of all these other movies that have come before it that are not necessarily horror films. I guess you could call Deliverance a horror film. It’s Mhmm. Kind of a survival movie. The hills have eyes, I kept thinking about that, where, again, just like Deliverance, it’s just the outsiders coming into a world where they really don’t belong.   And even APOCALYPSE NOW, I mean, there were some just straight out nods to Apocalypse Now. I’m thinking particularly, the scene when she’s wading through, I think it’s, Sarah at one point ends up wading through, almost swimming through blood, and as she comes up out of the water, you get this close-up on her face as she comes out, and her face is just covered in this this blood. And that is a direct copy off of a scene, similar scene, almost in the framing, and the lighting, and everything. I I just love this movie more the more I see it. Although I I guess I’ve seen a little more of its flaws as well this time around, that I I didn’t didn’t bother me so much on the first viewing, I guess, when I was in the theater, because you don’t know what’s coming up, so you’re not really looking at it with such a critical eye. 

Craig:  Yeah. I think I think it’s a really good, horror movie. Really, really solid. I think something else that I liked about it, you know, all of these actresses, they’re from different parts of the world, and some of them have success. Like, I I I looked up the the actress who plays Sarah, and she has lots and lots of acting credits. But I personally don’t recognize these these women from any other from anything, from anything else. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  So so you believe them as their characters. If this had been a bunch of young Hollywood actresses, don’t think it would have been as effective. These seemed like real people, like you said, with real personalities, complex relationships, and I think that is is one of the things that I appreciate about it most. 

Todd:  Yeah. And even today, like you said, you can go back and watch this movie that’s, over 10 years old, and you still don’t know any of the actresses, so it has that same effect on you. 

Craig:  It’s it’s pretty cool. 

Todd:  It’s pretty cool, that one. Neil Marshall, the director, cited Fulci and Argento as an inspiration. Did you did you read that? 

Craig:  No. I didn’t read it, but I can see it, especially with the use of color. There’s a lot of, shades of Argento there with the reds and greens and, that kind of imagery. So I I I hadn’t read it, but I definitely see it. 

Todd:  There’s also a really interesting moment in that movie where there’s almost an artsy point where they are under attack, but instead of all of the flailing and attacking, there’s almost this moment where we just get a few shots of the creature. Just a close-up of his face, and he looks gross, and then a shot from him from another angle where he’s glowing. It just seems like the camera, its sole purpose is to dwell on the grossness and the disgustingness of this feature. It’s this creature, and it’s a shocking moment, I thought, in the movie that just suddenly pulls you out of the action. And it’s like time stands still, and now we’re just gonna show you a bunch of gross shots of the creature. And I felt like that was totally 

Craig:  like something that these Hatakean directors would completely do. Almost a 

Todd:  Todd, to Fulci there. And, and I I appreciated that as well. I mean, Neil Marshall, he did dog soldiers before this. That’s something we should probably put on our list. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard really good things about it. 

Craig:  I know. That’s so funny. You know, I didn’t realize that. And that was his first movie, and this was his second. And just the whole notion of dog soldiers, and I’ve seen the cover art and stuff, it just seems so silly to me. But I Todd have heard really good things about it, from other horror fans. And, I I love this movie. So, yeah, we definitely should give it a shot. 

Todd:  Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. You can find us on iTunes and Stitcher. We’re also on social media. We have a Facebook page that you can like and follow. Also share with friends, and reach out to us. Let us know what you thought of this episode. Let us know what you thought of this film and any other films that you think we should see into the future. Until that time, I’m Todd. And I’m Craig. And with 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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