In the Appalachians, spelunkers Sarah (Shauna MacDonald), Juno (Natalie Mendoza), Beth (Alex Reid), Rebecca (Saskia Mulder), Sam (MyAnna Buring) and Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) assemble to wipe away the horrors of last year, when blunt-force tragedy struck Sarah's family and nearly did her in as well. They have an affecting reunion - with only the barest tough-girl clichés visible - and then director Neil Marshall's horror show begins to take shape. Juno has discovered an unexplored subterranean cavern in the area, and the outing is her surprise for the lot. Despite misgivings, the women head off into the unknown, and it's not long at all before one disaster after another occurs and things with teeth show up.
Marshall directed the justly praised werewolf movie Dog Soldiers, and The Descent ratchets up the carnage (this is an extremely wet bloodbath). Claustrophobic in a fun way while maintaining a brutally grim tone to the bitter end, it's the horror film to beat for the foreseeable future.