I file The Descent away in a category all its own. I love pretty much everything Neil Marshall creates and The Descent is such an interesting and nuanced film. It’s packed with nods to other films, but somehow manages to be an original story.
Final girl pick of the week, Sarah Carter battles creeping hairless monsters straight out of a nightmare while trapped in a cave in the middle of the earth. On top of that, the poor woman is fighting personal demons of loss and betrayal, literally and figuratively clawing her way back to the land of the living. I never equate The Descent with "final girl movies," but Sarah Cater is every bit a final girl.
Movie: The Descent
Final Girl: Sarah Carter (Shauna Macdonald)
The Issues: This needs to be set up a bit, but I’ll try not to spoil too much. Sarah is still reeling from an accident that killed her husband and small child. She agrees to go on a girl’s spelunking weekend as a means of escape, only to be confronted with the knowledge that her friend and husband betrayed her. Prior to getting to the cave she’s already begun to descend into the mouth of madness, but it’s this final truth that totally tips her over the edge.
The Resolve: Like all final girls, Sarah has lost nearly everything. She is at a point where she doesn’t want to live, and her last moments are spent in primal abandon. Obviously, the descent is a giant metaphor for Sarah’s headspace, but that’s almost secondary. The actual oppressiveness of the movie is what makes it unforgettable. The deeper the women go into the cave, the more cathartic each kill becomes.
The Best Kill: Sarah's metamorphosis throughout the movie is so incredibly physical, by the end she appears almost superhuman. While the film doesn’t offer redemption for Sarah, sticking her best friend with a pickaxe probably offered her a little piece of mind. Watch her battle crawlers below.