Looking for intelligent horror films - how about "The Descent" & "Saw" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 150 Old 10-18-2007, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I enjoy the classic horror films and I like "Scream" and "Cube" (found it's sequels interesting, though not as effective) and also usually like the first (and only the first) of the budget films (such as "Friday the 13th", "Nightmare On Elm Street", "Hell Raiser".) Naturally, I have "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Halloween", and "Carrie".

I'm wondering if "Saw" and "The Descent" are both good films -- preferrably with a somewhat intelligent plot and decent acting to help the delivery. Good for repeat viewing is, of course, highly desirable ! (Reasonable BD picture quality and sound doesn't hurt either, but the picture doesn't have to be top drawer -- just a respectable upgrade over SD DVD.)

Any opinions?
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post #2 of 150 Old 10-18-2007, 11:22 PM
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I thought Saw was the beginning of the end for decent horror movies... It's seemingly the start of the gratuitous slaughter porn we've been assaulted by for the last few years (Hostel, Hills have eyes, etc. etc.). It's worth a viewing... but not worth owning, if you ask me -- thankfully it's not as bad as all the movies it spawned after it (its sequels and this new sub genre of serious gore for the sake of gore -- it isn't even humorously done gore either). You may enjoy them, so I can only recommend you watch Saw first before buying.

I thought The Descent was pretty good and if you're a horror movie fan I'd be surprised if you didn't like it - probably one of the safer blind buys as far as horror movies go (for horror fans at least). I really liked how it ended too.
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post #3 of 150 Old 10-18-2007, 11:33 PM
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The Descent is very intelligent at offering good scares. I hardly get scared by any movie (I laughed mostly through Saw), but this movie managed to give me a good jolt every now and then. It moves along at a good pace, and as the poster above mentioned, the uncut ending is spectacular.

The audio/video quality is superb and a vast improvement over the SD DVD version.
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post #4 of 150 Old 10-18-2007, 11:40 PM
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The Descent is brilliant. Watched it twice already since it came out, and pondering a third revisit for this Halloween.

If you like gore movies, but want something with a bit more substance, try Hostel Part II when it comes out on the 23rd. It really goes into a lot of detail about everything in the Hostel-world, so instead of just seeing some teens get murdered, you get to see what the murderers are going through, what the businessmen who are profiting off the murders are doing, etc... Pretty neat stuff actually, though Eli Roth haters will try to tell you otherwise.

However, if you're format neutral go for John Carpenter's The Thing. Hands down best horror movie ever made.
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post #5 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm no gore hound, but for some flicks, some is appropriate -- I'm getting the impression "Saw" is just a little over-the-top and into goresploitation territory?

I have both the Carpenter and original versions of "The Thing" -- good films both. "Seven" is a good film where I think the emphasis is on the detective work and characters, rather than on the "punishments" themselves. Perhaps "Saw" just flips that around?

Guess I was under the impression it was a successful psychological thriller/horror blend. I understand there are two versions of it, the R rated Theatrical and a non-rated "director's" cut that up's the gore quotient. The BD release is the theatrical.

Sounds like "The Descent" is a good choice anyway.
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post #6 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:20 AM
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The Decent was amazing
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post #7 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:24 AM
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Haven't seen the Decent... need to read more about it.. but I can EASILY say that with about 150 Horror DVDs that my personal opinions about SAW and the movies that came after.... are...... pretty negative.


Saw is (like someone else here said) the start of really popular yet... TERRIBLE horror movies. Just awful.

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post #8 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
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The most recent films I've been picking up are Japanese horror -- "Ringu", "Ringu 2", (earler the U.S. versions "The Ring" and it's sequel) as well as "Ju-on" and "Kairo" (not bothering with the U.S. "Pulse" and "The Grudge".)

I'm under the impression the "Saw" series has really taken off and so I was guessing they were probably pretty decent. Rotten Tomatoes wasn't overwhelmed with any of them, though there were definitely some positive reviews, and even the HiDefDigest reviewer seemed to like "Saw" ! Since the sequels appeared to up the gore quotient, and I don't usually get along well with sequels anyway, I was expecting to both start and stop with the original.
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post #9 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:42 AM
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I would DEFINITELY purchase The Descent. One fantastic horror movie. Neil Marshall is an up and coming horror movie directer. I also recommend his previous offering, Dog Soldiers. But it's only in standard dvd. I been watching horror movies all my life. My parents used to take me to watch movies like Friday the 13th 3 in 3D, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog, etc...just because they were to cheap to get a babysitter. But it never made me crazy...not to much.

But anyway, are you only looking for horror movies in HD??? For good ghost stories...I recommend Asian Cinema like The Eye. The Eye was the only movie in the last 5 years that scared the crap out of me. These new movies like Hostile, Saw, and Hills Have Eyes are good movies but not very scary. They fall under the new catagory in Horror called Torture Porn. They just shock you with intense gore.

One movie I recommend is a lil gem called Wolf Creek. Good acting and a FANTASTIC villian.
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post #10 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 03:27 AM
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I'm going to give you my recommendation first, in case you don't want to read my whole rant.

Saw is a well made horror film. From what you've stated about your taste, I think you might enjoy the first one, but probably not the sequels. It is more disturbing than scary, but then again, in my opinion so are all the asian horror films that you said you enjoy. Also, the theatrical cut is the only one available on Blu Ray, no director's cut.

I haven't seen The Descent yet (I'm waiting for the price to drop on the blu ray) but I've heard really great things about it.

I always find the whole "torture porn" thing so hilarious. Watch Saw (the first one anyway) and point out to me where all the gore is. Seriously, in the theatrical cut every bit of violence happens off-screen, there is absolutely no gore whatsoever. There is a bit in the director's cut but nothing extreme by almost any standard. The sequels have gotten progressively more out there but, at the very least, the first one is a quality horror movie. Not "boo scary" but disturbing.

I would be really interested to hear everyones' opinions of films like Dawn/Day of the Dead, the Hellraiser movies, and Argento's films. Horror films from before the whole 90's, kiddy, PC, pg13 era were right up on par with not just something like Saw(in which, as I said, all the gore is off screen), but also with something like Hostel which really IS all about the disturbing gore.

And you know what... I'll bet you that even someone like Tom Savini who was involved in the genre can look past any cloud of nostalgia and enjoy what is being done rather than sound like someone pissed in his cornflakes.

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post #11 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 05:36 AM
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The Saw series is a joke. The Descent was one of those that started incredibly well and had me really into it.... and then, some of the characters started being able to beat up bad guys with ease and it got really stoopid.

Watch and see what you think. Great concept and start ruined by an almost "action movie"-like last hour. I dunno....
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post #12 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

The most recent films I've been picking up are Japanese horror -- "Ringu", "Ringu 2", (earler the U.S. versions "The Ring" and it's sequel) as well as "Ju-on" and "Kairo" (not bothering with the U.S. "Pulse" and "The Grudge".)

I'm a HUGE fan of Japanese horror. You may also wish to consider Uzumaki and Cursed (the Japanese one). The former is a step into the bizarre, and the latter is kind of a cross between Uzumaki and Ju-on. The Eye is pretty good, but it won't scare you like Juon and Ringu. If you like that kind of movie, I recommend A Tale of Two Sisters. None of which is in HD unfortunately.
I think the Saw series sucks, and I personally wasn't impressed with The Descent.
Just my 2 cents, take it for what its worth.
J
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post #13 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 06:36 AM
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The Descent is the best horror movie to come out in ages, IMO
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post #14 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 06:47 AM
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The Descent is a claustrophobic's worst nightmare. Plenty of "jump-scares" and some creepy little creatures to torment you. Acting is good, and the 6.1 audio is top-notch. The sound effects will make you feel trapped in the cave along with our heroes. Recommended.
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post #15 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 06:53 AM
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I agree too. The Descent is a truly amazing film.
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post #16 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 07:29 AM
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I think it's impossible to compare these two films directly because they really aren't in the same genre. Saw is as much a detective thriller as a horror movie, perhaps similar to Seven in structure, though not nearly as good. A major part of the movie is trying to figure out who the villain is, and the revelation at the end is really cool.

OTOH, The Descent is a monster horror movie, with the additional factor of the extremely claustrophobic environment to add to the overall atmosphere. I like both movies (although I never had any interest in seeing any of the Saw sequels), but I prefer The Descent. The ending, which I won't spoil, is controversial. If you listen to the director's commentary, you'll learn that there were two different endings filmed, the original and another ending made especially for US audiences. The BD version fortunately has the original ending. If you only saw the US theatrical version, you did not see the movie as it was intended to be filmed, and the US version is far inferior IMHO.
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post #17 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 08:10 AM
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How about The Devil's Rejects and House of a 1000 Corpses?

Gritty, old school horror flicks with enough humor where you cared about the villans. Grampa in 1000 Corpses cracks me up just thinking about him..
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post #18 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 08:43 AM
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house 1,000 corpses is good, i tried watching descent and was bored by it. there was just nothing going on for too long.
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post #19 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkcheng122 View Post

house 1,000 corpses is good, i tried watching descent and was bored by it. there was just nothing going on for too long.

i agree with the 1,000 corpses. i was expecting pure crap, but it was a pretty decent flick for a first time writer/director.

descent is awesome. i still need to pick this up on BD.
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post #20 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REFLEX View Post

Haven't seen the Decent... need to read more about it.. but I can EASILY say that with about 150 Horror DVDs that my personal opinions about SAW and the movies that came after.... are...... pretty negative.


Saw is (like someone else here said) the start of really popular yet... TERRIBLE horror movies. Just awful.

Saw and intelligent...lol
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post #21 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 10:18 AM
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Saw is good, but a one trick pony. You will only watch it once.

The Descent starts off a little slow, but when the **** hits the fan in the cave it is NON STOP horror. It just keeps delivering. The PQ is such a great upgrade over the UK & US dvd releases. The sound is awesome too.

Rent Saw, buy The Descent

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post #22 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 10:59 AM
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Saw sucks, The Descent is excellent. It's one of the few movies I'd buy on Bluray, if I had a player.
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post #23 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slksc View Post

The BD version fortunately has the original ending. If you only saw the US theatrical version, you did not see the movie as it was intended to be filmed, and the US version is far inferior IMHO.

The BD has both endings by seamless branching.
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post #24 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 11:11 AM
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I'll offering a dissenting opinion, I guess. I found Descent to have a few jumps, but didn't really think it was that effective of a movie. It just didn't creep me out or scare me in the slightest. I found Saw to be surprisingly good, and have in fact watched it and its sequels a couple of times. I found the gore level in the first movie to be quite tame, and really not much more than what you'd see on an episode of CSI (though each movie got progressivly more gory, and the 3rd was probably a little over the top). Given that you can pick up Saw and its sequels very cheap at BB or a used Blockbuster copy, I'd say go for it.
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post #25 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

I enjoy the classic horror films and I like "Scream" and "Cube"

Classics?

I think the SAW series was retarded. The Descent was one of the worst movies i've seen. They just weren't scary or "intelligent". That Juno chick in The Descent pissed me off so much

can't wait for The Shining to come out on BR next week. Dawn of the Dead (1978) is a classic. If you look past the zombies, there's a ton of underlying themes. Zombies were just wrapped around the themes. The Fly is genius (remake of an already classic), actually All David Cronenberg movies are classic.
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post #26 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:16 PM
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I don't know if I would describe The Descent as intelligent, but it certainly doesn't insult your intelligence. It is a thriller that actually develops the characters enough for you to care about them, and then relentlessly takes advantage of the close quarters setting to induce clausterphobic jumps, scares, and general creepiness. I definitely recommend it for a viewing. I also recommend it for demo material if you have a setup capable of uncompressed sound at 5.1 and up. This disc contains a 6.1 PCM soundtrack that accentuates the underground settings with its sound design. Great use of atmospheres, echo and lack thereof, and discrete effects really place you in this cavern with the heroines of the story.

Check it out and turn the lights out!
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post #27 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:46 PM
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I love the original Saw, I thought it was great, loved how twisted of a movie it was. The 2nd one was a let down, the 3rd was decent, I'm interested in seeing the 4th too.

The Descent was ok, visually it was nice, but it wasn't really scary to me, just a little creepy.
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post #28 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 01:59 PM
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I don't think the first Saw is bad and think people are being a bit harsh but everyone is entitled to their opinions. I think the Saw sequels paved the way for all the horror movies we see in theaters while Saw I felt was different. The first Saw provided a different take on horror. It made you uncomfortable while the sequels just seem to be about a high kill tally and lets be as over the top as we can be.

I think Saw is still one of the better horror movies to come out in some time. I bought The Descent awhille ago but have yet to watch it.
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post #29 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 02:30 PM
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To someone who goes into caves (like me, underwater) the Descent was creepy, if nothing else to see supposedly intelligent women make some really stupid moves navigationally. One who hasn't been dis-oriented in total darkness can only imagine how it can play on your emotional state and ability to reason. And this is without considering their underground company.

The alpha-female was obnoxious but one could care what happened to all the other characters.

Director's ending (not US theatrical) was great and made the movie even creepier than it was. Highly recommend the movie and that ending!

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post #30 of 150 Old 10-19-2007, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giant Robot View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

I enjoy the classic horror films and I like "Scream" and "Cube"

Classics?

The meaning of the word "and" is unclear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giant Robot View Post

can't wait for The Shining to come out on BR next week. Dawn of the Dead (1978) is a classic. If you look past the zombies, there's a ton of underlying themes. Zombies were just wrapped around the themes. The Fly is genius (remake of an already classic), actually All David Cronenberg movies are classic.

Yeppers, I've "The Shining" on pre-order and the well regarded remake of "Dawn Of The Dead". I also have "The Fly" and two of Cronenbergs films -- "Videodrome" and "eXistenZ".
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