The Descent

Horror. A group of women go spelunking in an underground cave and fall victim to evolved human predators crawling around in the dark. This is the same exact story as The Cave, which I blogged on last year. But this one is better. The premise is just as ridiculous because it maintains that some humans evolved deep in caverns into blind grocking spiderlike creatures without any real humanity, and yet, they somehow had access to the surface in order to find prey to catch and eat. But alas, it’s only a horror movie and I don’t consider that all that bad of a contradiction for horror.

The point of the movie is much deeper. It is about what makes us human or not, and the answer is not hopeful. For in evolution, there is no ultimate difference. We are all reducible to our animal natures, our biology. And that is what this film suggests. There is a dilemma between the heroine and the “action woman” of the piece. Evidently, the “action woman” had an affair with the heroine’s husband before he got killed in a car accident. The action woman regrets it to some degree, though not totally, since she still carries around a token of the husband’s betrayed lust in the form of a piece of jewelry. Anyway, as the monsters start to attack, the action woman and the heroine turn into battling mommas, while the others fall apart. Only the heroine turns a bit more bloody in her rage.

So action momma refuses to leave when she finds the exit until she goes back for the heroine. This is her redemption or human conscience and guilt over her friend. Unfortunately, the heroine has discovered her friend’s betrayal and when she shows up at the escape exit, and have the last chance to leave, the heroine wounds the action woman and leaves her to be eaten by the monsters. This to me is a clear attempt to be consistent with an atheist evolutionary worldview that claims that morality is an arbitrary social convention, since these monsters, separated from the rest of society simply are reduced to survival of the fittest. The movie could have been a heroic affirmation of humanity if, at that moment of revelation between the women, the heroine would forgive “action woman,” and they escape. Because you see that would be what would make them different from the raw animal tooth and claw of their predators. The ability to forgive would be the sense of morality that humanizes us, that is, separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom as created in the image of God. That is what would give the characters their true “victory” to survive beyond the beasts. But instead, the storytellers chose to have the heroine capitulate to revenge and murder, to in fact become like the beasts that were chasing them.

This materialist mythology spoils the movie for me and shows just how unsatisfying atheist evolutionary storytelling is if one is consistent with one’s worldview. There is no heroism or hope or atonement, there is only survival of the fittest and revenge.