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USA: Lions Gate Films
UK: Pathe Distribution
Cast: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora Jane Noone, MyAnna Buring, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll, Craig Conway, Leslie Simpson, Mark Cronfield, Steve Lamb, Catherine Dyson, Julie Ellis, Sophie Trott, Tristan Matthiae, Stuart Luis, Justin Hackney
Director: Neil Marshall
UK: 99 mins
USA Rated: R for strong violence / gore and language
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong bloody horror
USA Release Date: 4 August 2006
UK Release Date: 8 July 2005
In a remote mountain range, six female friends meet for their yearly adventure, a caving trip into the arteries of the earth. Leader of the trip is Juno (Natalie Mendoza), tough, compelling and dangerous. Along for the ride are Scandinavian half-sisters Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) and Sam (MyAnna Buring), wild base jumper Holly (Nora Jane Noone), and English teacher Beth (Alex Reid), who has reluctantly come to look after Sarah (Shauna Macdonald). Sarah is still recovering from a total mental breakdown after the deaths of her husband and child one year previously, and needs this trip to reclaim the life she once had.
It soon becomes clear that Sarah is not fully recovered, and that the hallucinations and memories that have dogged her for the past year are still very much hovering over her. But Juno shrugs off Beth's worries - Sarah is her best and oldest friend, and she is going to make this work.
Together, the group makes their way through the remote cave system, enjoying the hazardous but beautiful surroundings. Then, deep inside the cave, disaster strikes when their route back to the surface is blocked by a rock fall. When they learn that Juno, always pushing herself that little bit further, has brought them to an unexplored cave, and that no one is coming to rescue them, the group starts to splinter. But left with no option, they push on through the cave, praying for another exit.
The women battle through this harsh underground world, pitting their strength and determination against each new challenge. But there is something else lurking under the earth, a race of monstrous creatures hidden from the light, devolved to perfectly live in the dark ... As the women realise they have become prey, they are forced to unleash their most primal instincts to face the creatures. But, as old wounds break open and loyalties disintegrate, the women realise the horrible truth - that they have most to fear from one another.
When Juno accidentally wounds Beth and leaves her for dead, the dying Beth reveals to Sarah a secret that changes her view of Juno forever. Already on the verge of collapse, Sarah's mind fragments. As she and Juno, the only survivors, make a stand for their final battle, the question is: who has the resources to make it back to the surface, and what will they have to do to get there?
THE DESCENT is Neil Marshall's hotly anticipated follow up to his 2002 hit DOG SOLDIERS. Directed by Marshall from his own script, it tells the story of an all female caving expedition that goes terrifyingly wrong, and stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora-Jane Noone and MyAnna Buring. Set in a cave system deep in the Appalachian Mountains, Marshall describes the film as 'Deliverance goes underground'.
THE DESCENT was filmed on location in Scotland and at Pinewood Studios from December 2004 to February 2005, and was fully financed and produced by Celador Films. Celador's Paul Smith is executive producer and Christian Colson is producer. The film reunites Marshall with DOG SOLDIERS' director of photography, Sam McCurdy, and production designer, Simon Bowles. Celador's previous credits include the Oscar-nominated DIRTY PRETTY THINGS.