It was scary. The backdrop element of claustrophobic caving combined with the core terror element was effective at generating fear. that about wraps up the good news.
The story was awful. Whole constructs of the story, given 20 minutes or more of screen time to develop and nurture, were utterly abandoned in the end. The movie could have literally been edited to 1 hour and made better sense as a story. The characters were completely non existent. There was not a shred of acting ability evident among any of the cast, leaving the audience not simply in a state of not having become emotionally invested in anyone, but not even knowing who the hell everyone was. I watched this film not 2 hours ago, and I cannot name any character. Not the protagonist, not the designated victim, not one.
A horror film is not simply blood and gore and loud noises. There must be a story. The shower scene in Psycho was memorable not because of the violence and gore, but for two facts:
- It was very well acted
- It had a story. This was a guy who talked to his mother's corpse. We knew he was a monster and we knew why.
What story can be said to exist in "The Descent" consists of one character's action, and one character's reaction. Pretty simple stuff. But even that one event was poorly explained, badly executed, and mystifyingly stupid. You can't string a series of cleverly storyboarded scenes together and call it a movie. There are two critical elements any movie must have. It must be well written, and it must be well acted. "The Descent" has neither.