This chapter explores which films Neil Marshall was watching while he wrote The Descent. Neil Marshall has in various interviews cited Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972), Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979), and The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) as the principal cinematic influences on The Descent, and the three offer a useful way to triangulate his film's co-ordinates. Deliverance, Alien, and The Shining are, like The Descent, about small groups isolated in hostile conditions with something unexpected and nasty. All three films play on fears of isolation and explore intra-group tensions alongside their more overt horror content; in The Shining the two are broadly indistinguishable. Beyond these thematic similarities, Marshall notes in 'The Making of The Descent' that each film relates to aspects of his in different ways: Deliverance is about an adventure trip that goes wrong, Alien is about atmosphere and menace and dark spaces, and The Shining is about someone going insane. The chapter then highlights the cave films that followed The Descent's release.
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