—the James Cameron
-produced 3D movie that opens in theaters everywhere today—is based on co-writer Andrew Wright's near-death experience of leading a diving expedition deep into a system of underground caves and being forced to find another way out when a freak storm closed off the entrance. The film employs the same 3D techniques Cameron used in Avatar
in an attempt to immerse viewers in claustrophobic underworld of caves and tunnels.
As far as cinema spelunking is concerned, however, nothing will ever top director Neil Marshall's 2005 shocker The Descent
about a group of six women who become trapped in an uncharted cave system in the Appalachian Mountains. The group leader, Juno (Natalie Mendoza), tries to cheer up her pal, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald
), after the accidental death of Sarah's husband by surprising the women with unexplored caves they can discover together. The problem is that when the entrance collapses, the spelunking six are forced to go deeper into the system to try to find another way out. It is there where they encounter a terrifying breed of blind humanoid carnivores that begin picking off the ladies one by one in the dark. Maybe Juno should have confessed to having an affair with Sarah's husband before they were trapped underground with some really nasty crawlers in this terrifying horror film that will leave you gasping for air along with the characters.
In The Descent Part 2
, Sarah has escaped from her underground hell and is taken to a local hospital to recover. She is suffering from amnesia due to the trauma of her ordeal, but the sheriff insists on bringing her back to the caves with three specialists in attempt to find Sarah's missing friends. They descend below an old mine shaft into the caves filled with the crawlers, and it is there that Sarah begins to have scary flashbacks about the horrors that lie beneath. By then it is too late as the crawlers close in on the new group of morsels, and Sarah is forced to go all Ripley to fight her way to the surface once again. On the way up she discovers that one member of her spelunking party is still alive—and she has a bone to pick with Sarah for leaving her behind. Although this tense sequel was not directed by Marshall, it retains much of the same team from the original and successfully replicates the first film's claustrophobic thrills and eerie cinematic style.
Sorry, Mr. Cameron, but The Descent (available on both DVD and Blu-ray) and The Descent Part 2 (DVD only) remain the final word in spelunking shockers...in any dimension.