Author Topic: The Descent (Deep Secrets)  (Read 10482 times)


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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2010, 10:57:22 AM »
Culled from IMDb. The first time there was ever an intelligent post at that place!

We know that Sarah is mentally unstable, and we know that she did have other hallucinations, at the hospital and then of her daughter, so we've got a precedent. Also, take a look at the context in which her auditory hallucinations, the ones of her daughter giggling, happened.
-In the dream at the cabin, right before the pole smashed through the window.
-Right before we see a crawler – our first deliberately placed one, too. There’s one about half a minute earlier that’s extremely difficult to spot unless you know it’s there, but on the commentary it was explained that this was actually a member of the crew whom they only noticed during editing, and touched up his face so he’d look like a crawler. So it was intended that Sarah would hear the giggling right before our first crawler makes an appearance.
-Before she enters the tunnel, the one she got stuck in. As Beth pointed out, Sarah could move, she wasn’t genuinely stuck, it’s more that she was panicking and convincing herself she was stuck. It was a situation her mind created.
-While everyone’s busy with Holly’s leg, Sarah hears the giggle, wanders off in the direction it came from, and comes across a crawler.
This is probably the biggest piece of evidence for the crawlers being Sarah’s hallucinations. I mean, it’s difficult to come up with an entirely plausible explanation as to why Sarah twice imagines a giggle just before a crawler pops up. Especially since the other two giggles come right before Sarah is subjected to an imagined danger.

Another interesting little thing – when they’ve just entered the cave, right before she stumbles upon the bats, Sarah finds those bloody indentations in the rock, that look like somebody made them with their fingers. But thinking about it, how would the crawlers being real explain that? They wouldn’t be able to scratch into boulders. That bit only really makes sense if those indentations are just the first part of Sarah imagining the crawlers.

Oh, and also, there’s that dream of Jessica turning into a crawler. That could represent Sarah’s daughter-issues developing into her imagining the crawlers.

Also, if someone mentally unstable were to start having full-on hallucinations of monsters trying to eat her, it’s quite possible that it would have to do with some distressing factors. Sarah’s spending time in the dark under a whole lot of rock and dirt in a very claustrophobic environment, and that’s before things start going wrong. Then she becomes trapped down there, without Search and Rescue on the way, so it’s looking fairly likely they’re all going to die down there. Then Holly breaks her leg, and of course then Sarah’s crutch Beth is kind of busy helping the woman with the broken leg.

Then there's also the matter of how the crawlers were appearing to or with Sarah for a long time before anyone else. There was that one round the corner from where she was, to the left of the screen, in the first chamber. Only she was onscreen at the time. Then the next one only she noticed although everyone else was in the same chamber at the time – this was in the scene after the cave-in. Then there was that one she found while the others were fixing Holly’s leg, she got a reasonable look at it, and then it scampered away, conveniently right before Juno got there. Even when one appears to everyone for the first time, Sarah's the first one to see it, through Holly's camera. All this is a little odd, huh?

The gradual buildup is also interesting - the first one is barely visible even if you know it's there, the second one is only silhouetted and far off, and to the far left of the screen, the third one is much closer and centered, but still silhouetted and only there for a moment, the fourth one is in close-up, but almost entirely offscreen, and finally the drinking one is where we get a relatively good look at it. This could represent how the idea of the crawlers was gradually being constructed in Sarah’s mind. Notice the crawlers also get more prominent as the caving situation worsens.

Now, here's where the evidence given in the above two paragraphs gets fun – the main character sensing the threat before the other characters is a fairly common thing in these kind of “group of people getting picked off one at a time,” horror movies. The gradual buildup to the threat is also often used. So we can’t actually be sure – does Sarah see the crawlers so long before everyone else because she’s actually imagining them, or is it simply because she’s the main character in a horror movie? Is the gradual buildup to the crawler reveal representing the idea of the crawlers slowly taking root more and more firmly in Sarah’s mind, or is it because building up to the threat is a classic horror tactic? The film is deliberately taking advantage of horror formula to keep things ambiguous as to whether Sarah’s crazy or the crawlers are real.
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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2010, 11:22:51 AM »
Yeah, I noticed that the early sightings were exclusive to Sarah, our character whose sanity is in doubt. But I just can't get over the fact that the monsters are actually killing people. It would be one thing if all the deaths were left ambiguous or indirect so that you could say the monsters weren't there, but when the monster is directly shown to be the cause of death, it must be real, because hallucinations can't chew your face off.

The kind of kills that work are like when Juno gets the pick through the other girl's neck because she reacts out of frightened instinct. I could imagine another where someone falls into a chasm trying to escape one. I mean, I guess if we are to believe that wherever we see a monster kill we are actually seeing Sarah kill, that might work, but the monsters operate in inhuman ways, there are many of them and many are killed. If it tries to claim that the monsters are fake, it opens far too many plot holes given its current format (though I think that could be interesting if different decisions were made). And it is this different direction that is the only one I could really see working fully.


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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2010, 11:31:21 AM »
Good stuff, though the last paragraph pretty much sums up why it does not add up to much.  But I think that after the crawler attacks the group all ambiguity is lost.  Who killed the girl that died if it wasn't a crawler?  If it was Sarah going nuts, why didn't the others simply subdue her?  Also later Sarah meets up with the other survivors and they show no suspicion of her, so Sarah going nuts makes no sense.   
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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2010, 08:49:27 PM »
I never got why people liked this movie. I had no intention of seeing it at all, and then it got good reviews from Rotten Tomatoes so I saw it. After I watched it though, it was exactly everything I thought it would be. It turns into more of a "run away or kill the monsters" kinda movie than an "overcome mental adversity or die" kinda movie.

I agree with what you're saying about how the movie ended...standard fare monster/gore type stuff.

BUT...think it's well worth the price of admission for the first half of the movie, which has a very well executed setup of six women, all given just enough character distinction and depth for it to be interesting, exploring the caves, but still having fun with itself as a shlocky horror movie.  I'd find it very surprising for people to not take great enjoyment of watching the slowly building creep-factor of watching these women repelling and then resorted to crawling through ever-increasing claustrophobic tunnels, darkly lit chambers, steep inclines, and relying on survival skills of the two more experienced hikers to get them through some sticky situations. 

The camera work isn't just good for the type of genre movie this is; this is genuinely good cinematography.  It has a vision of what it wants to be and go for, and really hits the nail on the head.  I watched this late at night with all the lights out, and had a blast slowly watching myself get near-goosebumpy at the tension of knowing "something bad is about to happen"...and they'll tease you and tease you, and most importantly, very cleverly will tie what we know about each of the character's to the increasing tension that mounts in the movie as they travel through the darkness of the caves. 

Yeah, there are some problems once the monsters get introduced, but overall, this is a really well done horror flick that is excellently filmed.  The guys behind the camera really knew what they were doing here, and I give them all the props for a well crafted tension-builder. 


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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2013, 02:12:34 PM »
Happy to catch up on this thread and learn that my experience with this film wasn't unique.

The creatures as figments of Sarah's imagination ... that was one of the theories I hinted at in my review. It's an intriguing idea for a second, but I didn't feel like the film itself gave it enough credence.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 02:14:22 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.


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Re: The Descent (Deep Secrets)
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2015, 09:05:58 AM »
The Descent
Natalie Mendoza’s Juno is the group leader, but there’s much more going on underneath. Juno always has something to prove (notice her leg stretch in front of the other women after her morning jog.)

How can you not notice...

After reading the thread, I don't quite believe that the monsters are not real, at least in not the way the film is shown.  If they are just part of Sarah's imagination, then I got to think the film cheats as they show it very different points of view.  So I wouldn't want to go with that idea.

There is a point where Juno stabs one of her friends in the neck by accident.  In the way it is shown, I think it is a completely understandable reaction though leaving her friend or not probably isn't.  But should she get it in the end by Sarah in the end due to that?  I am not sure I felt so sickened by her which I assumed the film was trying to do by the way it played out.

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