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The Descent$
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James Marriott

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733711

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733711.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

The Descent

The Descent

Chapter:
(p.17) The Descent
Source:
The Descent
Author(s):

James Marriott

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906733711.003.0003

This chapter offers a detailed synopsis of Neil Marshall's The Descent (2005). This serves to clarify what actually happens (going by the reviews, the film has been for certain viewers a confusing experience) and to introduce some speculative ideas that do not fit neatly anywhere else. The film is about a group of women who went on a caving expedition which would eventually go horribly wrong. The chapter highlights the significance of one of the scenes in the beginning of the film in establishing various subtle fault lines in the group dynamic. Rather than opting for unrealistically distinct character types, Marshall presents a group whose credibility is actually enhanced by an apparent initial similarity, as though the viewer has been introduced around at a party or a new workplace and has trouble remembering exactly who everyone is. This credibility, along with the length of the scene, demonstrates that the film has a certain compassion for its characters, prompting a copycat response from the viewer. These characters are neither ciphers nor witless irritants, and the film spends some time building them up as credible individuals.

Keywords:   Neil Marshall, The Descent, female characters, horror film, group dynamic, credibility

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