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Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is loved by the Substream staff more than Halloween. With October’s arrival, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a slew of special features we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day.

31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring column that will run throughout the month of October. The goal of this series is to supply every Substream reader with a daily horror (or Halloween-themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you will follow along at home. Reader, beware, you’re in for a… spooky good time!


Day 11: The Descent (2005)

There are a lot of places I am willing to go in this world, but the one place you will never convince me to travel is underground. That is, until the day someone lowers my coffin, and to be honest I’m not even sold on that idea just yet. I simply have no desire to be conscious and below the surface of the Earth. Why? It’s not that I dislike spelunking—or at least I didn’t for a good portion of my life. I spent several years of my youth exploring caverns on tours and scouting trips, but all that changed when I encountered a film that shook me to my core (and it continues to do so to this day).

The Descent is a story rooted in reality, but with a wicked second act surprise that is familiar, yet exhilarating all the same. The film centers on a group of friends who embark on an annual outing together only to find themselves lost in a strange and potentially inhabited cave following a surprise earthquake. Left with no other option, the friends plunge deeper into the bowels of an unfamiliar mountain, and one by one they begin to fall victim to the creatures that dwell in the darkness.

The Descent

So what, right? Cave monsters don’t seem all that scary to people who never spend time in caves, but when you see The Descent you realize there is something far more sinister afoot than creatures that go bump in the dark. The Descent is a relentless game of cat and mouse that begins long before you or the characters even realize what’s happening, and when you do become aware of the ever-present danger it’s already too late. It’s not about losing or finding hope; it’s about survival, plain and simple, and there is something about that angle that touches on something that is a universal component of the human experience.

Every horror subgenre has its own quintessential tale of terror: Every water-based film is compared to Jaws, every zombie film is compared to Night Of The Living Dead, and every tale of toys come to life is compared to Child’s Play. These iconic titles are considered the best of the best, and they often inspire multiple generations of filmmakers, not to mention the fact that they scare generations of genre fans. As far as cave horror is concerned, there is nothing better than The Descent. Hell, I’m convinced it’s one of, if not the best horror film made since 2000. Don’t miss out.