After tragedy struck a group of thrill-seeking friends when Sarah loses her husband Paul in a car accident, the group Sarah, Juno, Beth, Sam, Rebecca, and Holly reunite at a cabin in the scenic Appalachian Mountains. The next day the group hikes up the mountain to a nearby cave system to go spelunking, once inside the group moves deeper down coming upon a narrow passage that collapses as they pass through it, trapping them inside. The group’s sanity immediately begins to deteriorate as Juno reveals they aren’t in the planned cave system that was mapped out because she led them to an unknown cave system hoping the adventure would restore the group’s lost dynamic. As the group continues down the tunnel system Holly trips and falls as she sprints towards what she believes to be sunlight breaking her leg. The group aids Holly as they push deeper into the cave system until they come to a bone-laden den where a pale humanoid creature known as a “crawler” attacks them slicing through the tense atmosphere with a stark realization that the group isn’t alone in the claustrophobic tunnel system. The group’s bonds are put to the test in a gritty fight for survival against the environment, the newfound foes, and even each other.

This 2005 film captures the absolute terror of isolation and claustrophobia of a cave-in and pairs it in beautiful contrast to the image of freedom depicted by the wide open mountain ranges of Appalachia, the unnerving feeling of what lies in the surrounding darkness, and an impactful ending that will leave the viewer viscerally impacted. While the directive decisions of Neil Marshall are responsible for the slow-building tension and terror of the film, the backdrop of the cave systems was expertly crafted by Simon Bowles who created twenty-one cave sets to create the underground labyrinth experienced in the film. The visceral feel of the film was deemed too much for American audiences upon release as the US release is cut almost a minute shorter than the UK version due to content and setup for the 2009 sequel to the film The Descent Part 2.

As always, if you’ve seen the listed film, dislike the film, or just don’t believe you would like it we have provided a list of alternative choices for you to pick from: alternative-films-for-this-spooky-season

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