When film reviewers wrote about The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) during its U.S. theatrical release in August 2006, many displayed an interesting contradiction. They often praised the film for departing from hypersexualized depictions of its women protagonists, but then used sexualized language in their reviews to describe the actors. In some instances, reviewers interpreted the imagery in The Descent as objectification, leaning into their expectations of the genre.
When I watch the film, I don’t see objectification. I see the filmmakers nodding to objectifying tropes in the horror genre, but not actually participating in them. The characters are photographed (by cinematographer Sam McCurdy) like athletes. The imagery invites us into their adrenaline and emotions rather than inviting us to ogle. (more…)