The Descent (2005) - The year before this movie hit theaters in the USA my family and I were spending a couple weeks in Cuernavaca Mexico, at the Encuentros Spanish school, and living with a family when not in class. We were really tired of the nonstop Spanish and needed to find some way to hear English just for a little while, you can only watch so much TV in Spanish before tuning out. We decided to go to the big fancy mall in the city to see a film. In English with Spanish subtitles. While the girls went to see some romantic comedy or something I found the movie The Descent. I already knew the director Neil Marshall from his great Dog Soldiers so I was excited that I was going to get to see a new movie from him. It was just what I needed to see, a claustrophobic, exciting horror movie with lots of gore. I love this movie, I have seen it seven times now and enjoy it each time. Smartly paced with excellent scares it build to an exciting action filled climax and then leaves you thinking with a ending that does not explain everything completely. This being the international ending, which is different than the US ending.
After loosing her family in a car wreck Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) rejoins her female adventure group for a caving expedition in the Appalachian mountains. Sarah is still feeling the effects of the deaths of her husband and daughter is taking medication and having horrifying dreams. Juno (Natalie Mendoza) who secretly had an affair with Sarah's late husband, struggling with the guilt of it wants to organize a special trip to bring the group closer together. She without telling the group leads them to a cave that has never been explored before. Things go horribly wrong when the way they just past collapses leaving the group stuck under the mountain. As they attempt to find a passage out they realize they are not alone in the cave. Living in the system is a group of humanoid creatures evolved for living in the dark. The bat people stalk and start killing the party and very quickly the women are in a fight for their lives.
Spoilers: The ending in the US version of this film has the main character escaping from the caves and pulling over on the side of the road. She sees her friend Juno (dead at this point) sitting next to her and screams, the movie ends. This is the happy ending, Sarah escapes being the only survivor of the expedition.
In the international version after Sarah screams in the truck she wakes up still in the tunnels. You hear the sounds of the creatures and see her hallucinating her daughter blowing out a birthday cake. In this ending you are brought back to some of the exposition dialog, where the effects of darkness can be hallucinations, paranoia, etc. It could be that the women were trapped and then Sarah broke and killed all her friends and the creatures and all were just her minds way of dealing with the craziness. Or that there was indeed creatures and although she fought then off and sacrificed Juno to them that she never found the way out of the caves and it ends with her still trapped.
Either way this movie kicks ass and I loved it. Even after seeing it multiple times I still sit enthralled with this one.