Celebrating Neil Marshall’s “The Descent”


I don’t consider it a far off notion to call Neil Marshall this generation’s John Carpenter. The man has delivered his own twisted and original visions of various genres that have ended in some of the most riveting movie experiences I’ve ever had. I first discovered Marshall with “Dog Soldiers,” which successfully combines the werewolf sub-genre with a war movie, resulting in a quite obvious homage to “Assault on Precinct 13.” I’m also a humongous fan of his post apocalyptic tale “Doomsday,” which is his loving ode to the post apocalypse sub-genre and zeroing in on a heroine that’s basically Snake Plissken, even missing one eye, to boot.

Marshall at his best is a raw and relentlessly brilliant filmmaker who can muster up some unique emotions and arouse hot debates among the horror and science fiction community. Marshall’s masterpiece is his odd form of “The Thing,” in where he casts a predominantly female cast, all of whom are confined to one location, forced to fight off delirium, and mistrust, and becoming victim to their landscape, which is harrowing and dangerous no matter where one turns.

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Centurion (2010)

08a04afb4d0d53326c091421a39Strong female characters in a Neil Marshall film are never in short supply, and with “Centurion” even thought it’s primarily a testosterone laden gladiator film of the highest order, Marshall stamps his trademark style on to it with sheer grit, a noticeable blue hue that makes even the gladiator action feel steeped in grindhouse, and of course he offers up a small array of female warriors in a world where men dominate and do battle in the woods. Marshall is up to the challenge to give his fans a rare entertaining gladiator film that’s not only very traditional in the way of “Spartacus” but features some of the most gruesome action sequences and dazzling performances in years.

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Doomsday (2008)

doomsdayMarshall is perhaps one of the most underrated, unnoticed, wildly creative directors of our time, and it sucks when I can watch something like “Doomsday” and frown that not many chose to see it with me. Currently one of my favorite directors in film, Marshall is 3 for 3 with a slyly tongue in cheek post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place during the end of a destructive disease called The Reaper which took most of the civilization in Glasgow. Closed off from society, the government’s plan to quarantine the country forever turned on them as the world suffered from over population and now the Reaper is back. “Doomsday” has elicited many comparisons to classics like “Mad Max,” and “Escape from New York,” and even fans of the film have agreed to these very apt comparisons.

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Dog Soldiers (2002)


What if Steven Spielberg and Stephen King got together and decided to mix “Silver Bullet” with “Saving Private Ryan”? You have a rather large hunk of horror/action fare for any movie nut to chew on, and this is some film to chew on. Take a group of completely different people, store them in a confined space with very little and/or limited weapons while they’re forced to fend off against ravenous monsters who are lurking at every corner while they’re forced to deal with each other, as paranoia inevitably ensues. “Dog Soldiers” is one bad mutha of a horror film successfully following that formula and creating an experience for viewers that will linger on your mind forever.

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