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The Descent
December 22, 2008
The Descent: Introduction / The Movie The Descent: Screencaps & A Closer Look
The Descent: Features & Specifications The Descent: Conclusion

The Descent
Features: 6.1 PCM Audio (LPCM) soundtrack.
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-4 AVC / 1080p
Movie File Size: 23 GB
Average Bitrate: 21.56 Mbps
Distributor: Lionsgate
Region: A
Movie Release: August 4, 2006
This Release: December 26, 2006
MPAA Rating: R / Unrated
Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins
MSRP: $29.99
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
  • Surprisingly good transfer
  • Some grain present in scenes, but this actually adds to the realism of the movie
  • The 6.1 lossless soundtrack sounds great
  • Few colors but detail is good and where solid primary colors are displayed, they saturate the screen very well
  • Extras included are above average
Cons / Disadvantages
  • None observed
Noteworthy Observations
  • This is the MPEG-4 AVC version of the film
  • Some may prefer the MPEG-2 version as it is smoother, but I prefer the AVC version
  • On the back of the Lionsgate Blu-ray cover, it says "1" which refers to the Region. In addition, on the disc itself there is Region 1 imprinted on the outside label. There is no Region 1 when it comes to Blu-ray titles. There is only Region A, B, or C. So, I'm assuming they mean Region A.



    The audio choices on The Descent are only lossless 6.1 or Dolby Digital EX 5.1. The DD EX sounds ok, but the lossless 6.1 sounds great. For example, in scenes where there is a trickle of water, or an object scraping against a rock, or simple footsteps, the lossless soundtrack provides a crystal clear presentation.

    I noticed the soundtrack will appear as "7.1" on decoders. This is because the same rear channel is being fed to both rear channels. And thus, why the 6.1 reference on the Blu-ray case. True 7.1 would have...true discrete channels. In any case, this is insignificant as the soundtrack is excellent.


    The picture quality of The Descent can look a little "dirty" or "grainy" in a few scenes, but overall the clarity is about what I would expect for an HD transfer. Since this is the AVC version, there is more grain in particular scenes, but I prefer the AVC version because even with the grain present, the detail is still there. In this case, The Descent actually comes across as more real. If the entire film was shot in crystal clarity, it wouldn't have such a gritty and nihilistic quality.

    The Descent is one of my favorite horror films of all time. And I don't say this easily, as I don't have too many favorites in the horror genre. What made everything click in this movie was the attention to not focusing on blood and gore as the main thrust for a horror film. Most horror directors think you need an overwhelming amount of blood and gore to make a successful film. In most cases they are wrong and their films end up being forgotten. The Saw franchise managed to pull it off but this was due to creative exploration rather than blatant exploitation. Big difference.

    In under two hours, The Descent manages to give you not just an idea of the friendships of the characters involved, but an actual feeling they have towards one another and pulls you, the viewer, into their experiences. The movie explores several scenes of friendship, and we don't start to see hints of a horror film until half way into it. This was probably one hell of a risk Neil Marshall took, and I'm glad he stuck to it.

The Extras

    The extras on The Descent are better than average and in some cases are just hilarious. You must view the Outtakes and see a Crawler perform like never before. There's a significantly lengthy The Descent: Beneath The Scenes featurette which provides a wealth of information. The two additional audio commentaries are also something worth listening to when viewing the movie a second or third time. Overall, a darn good selection of extras.

The Descent is going to be a favorite for any horror fan. Rarely does a film come along which provides a diversion from the exploitation of the genre. When you buy this title on Blu-ray, you will have something unique in your HD collection. And accordingly, The Descent receives a Highly Recommended Plus.

For those who are still looking for the AVC version, my advice is to search places where the stock is slow-moving.

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