How Well Do You Know the Movie The Descent?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: Celador Films

About This Quiz

Are you ready to face your DEEPEST fears? Grab your spelunking gear, and prepare to face troglodytes and horrors without number as you test your knowledge of The Descent!

In the opening scene, how many women are whitewater rafting?

The women are Juno, Beth and Sarah. They are in Scotland, apparently having their annual outdoor adventure.

How do Sarah's husband and daughter die?

For moviegoers expecting the violence not to start until the caving trip, the car wreck is an abrupt shock. The rafting trip is over, and Paul is driving when a minivan crosses the center line and smashes into their car. Worse, its load of copper pipes flies off its roof and right through the smaller car, leading to a spectacular impalement in Paul's case.

What was Sarah's daughter's name?

Jessica was about to celebrate her fifth birthday. Later, Sarah will have flash images of her daughter blowing out birthday candles, and will hear her daughter's distant giggling in the cave.

How many women go on the caving expedition?

The following year, Juno, Beth and Sarah are joined by a pair of sisters and "Juno's protege," Holly. They take a group photo the morning of the adventure -- always a bad sign in a movie.

Which of the women is American?

Juno is the American; the other women are from various parts of the British isles. Is it some kind of commentary that the American is the film's real "bad guy" (while the crawlers are just trying to get enough to eat)? We couldn't say for sure.

What are the cave creatures called (as per the closing credits)?

The crawlers are implied to be humans that took a different evolutionary turn than homo sapiens. Sam suggests that they're completely adapted to living in the dark, using echolocation to navigate and hunt.

What nationality is Holly?

Holly says that she followed Juno to America because she ran out of things to climb "in Galway." (That's a city in Ireland, if you're not up on your geography).

Which of the women is a medical student?

Sam will be a doctor next year, as her sister Rebecca proudly tells everyone. This will come in handy when one of the group is seriously injured.

Which of the women favors red clothing? once called red "the international color of bad decisions," and Juno will bear this description out. It's her fondness for risk that gets the whole disaster rolling.

Where do the women think they're going caving?

That's the system for which Rebecca files their "flightplan" with mountain rescue. It's not really the cave system they're in, as they'll find out.

Why are the women in an unexplored cave system?

Juno wanted to explore a system that no one had been in before, and have it named after Sarah -- or so she claims. Sarah isn't buying it: She suggests Juno wants the caves named after her.

Where is the cavern system located?

There isn't actually a Chatooga National Park, but there is a Chatooga River in North Carolina. Parts of "Deliverance," were shot on the Chatooga, which is significant because "The Descent" has parallels with that movie (a fun weekend adventure goes really, really wrong).

What does Juno leave in the car?

Juno knows they're not going into Boreham Caverns, so the guidebook won't be of any use. And, being Juno, she wouldn't leave an "in case of ..." note: She never acknowledges the possibility of failure.

What do the women find near the stream, just before the cavern opening?

Of course, this isn't unusual -- they're out in the middle of a forest. But in the context of a horror movie, the discovery of the dead elk seems to flash "TURN BACK!" in red letters.

What does Juno always wear around her neck?

We see Juno kiss the pendant at one point, before a dangerous undertaking. It's not until late in the film that we learn its significance.

Who sees four red claw marks near the entrance to the caverns?

The entrance is actually quite lovely, with water falling through a mossy opening. But Sarah stumbles across a sign of bad things to come.

Who tells Sarah "There is nothing left to be afraid of"?

Of course, the line is ironic. But at the time, Beth is making the point that, "The worst thing that can happen has already happened to you," meaning the deaths of Paul and Jessica.

What happens after Sarah gets unstuck from the tunnel?

It's at this point that Juno has to reveal to the women that they're not in Boreham Caverns. They expect her to take out the guide and find another exit, but she can't do that: These caves are completely unmapped.

Who goes across the cave roof to set up a line over a precipice?

One of the interesting things about the movie is that Holly, the big talker, doesn't really do much when it's crunch time. Though she eagerly "takes point" before things go wrong, when it's time for someone to cross the roof over a precipice, it's Rebecca who goes.

What does Rebecca find embedded in the cave roof?

This is what tells the women that they're not the first ones down in the caves. The piton is "at least a hundred years old," Juno says, suggesting that people have been trying to explore the area for a long time -- and no one's made it back.

What is significant about the cave mural?

The mural discovery is a bit confusing. Later, we'll learn that the crawlers are completely blind, so why would they create drawings, and how could they create such perfect images of the mountains, entrances and beasts that they hunt?

Why does Holly fall and break her leg?

Holly, true to her character, is rash. Though Juno warns her to slow down, she runs ahead when she sees (supposedly) daylight, causing her to fall and break her leg.

What does Juno use a lighter for?

Big caverns and mines "breathe," with the air changing direction at night and morning. A knowledgeable caver can find the right direction to the surface by discerning the movement of air.

Who is the first to see a crawler?

Sarah has gone off by herself (which Rebecca warned everyone not to do), and sees the creature at a distance. Naturally, the other women don't believe her at first.

Who is the first to kill a crawler?

Unfortunately, Juno doesn't just kill a crawler. Afterward, hearing a noise behind her, Juno turns and attacks -- and drives her ax into Beth's neck.

Which woman is the first to die?

Holly was injured and unable to fight. So she's easy prey when the crawlers attack.

What disadvantage do the crawlers have, as discovered by Sarah?

Sarah lies completely still at one point, and a crawler puts its face within inches of hers but moves on. This doesn't make a lot of sense, as a creature adapted to hunting in the dark would likely have heard her breathing, scented her, or even felt her body heat ... but, hey, it's fiction!

What alerts a crawler to Rebecca and Sam's presence?

The alarm goes off at the worst possible time. Fortunately, Sam whips it off and throws it to a distance, getting the crawler going in the wrong direction.

Who or what kills Beth?

Juno accidentally stabbed Beth through the neck, true. But Sarah is the one who commits a mercy killing, crushing her skull with a rock.

How does Rebecca die?

Rebecca's death, toward the end of the film, is quick. The movie spends most of its time building a claustrophobic atmosphere and rising tensions, and in comparison, the deaths of Becca and Sam seem almost an afterthought.

How does Sam die?

One of the things that makes the crawlers so scary is that they can crawl across roofs like spiders. When one kills Sam, in her climbing harness, her body hangs in a backbend style that makes for a very creepy visual.

What did Beth know about Juno that the others didn't?

When Paul took off Juno's helmet at the river, they looked at each other very significantly, and Beth saw it. It's possible that Beth confronted Juno about it after Sarah, Paul and Jessica left ... at any rate, Beth seems to be the only person who knew this secret.

What was engraved on Juno's silver feather pendant?

This was something Paul used to say. So when Sarah sees it on Juno's pendant, she knows Beth is telling the truth about the necklace being a gift from Paul. (Kind of sloppy for Juno to wear it on a vacation with Sarah, btw).

How does Juno die?

Sarah does injure Juno, in retaliation for both the affair with Paul and leaving Beth to die. But it's ultimately a mob of crawlers that finishes Juno off. Presumably, at least: We don't see her die.

Who does Sarah hallucinate in the passenger seat of the SUV?

In the UK version of the film, Sarah's entire escape is a hallucination, and she's still in the caverns. The US version (we think) is more nuanced: Sure, Sarah escapes, but has the rest of her life to deal with her survivor guilt -- hardly a sunshine-and-roses ending.

The promotional poster for "The Descent" featured what superbly creepy image?

The women's bodies, in silhouette, form the shape of a human skull. Another poster -- also now the DVD box art -- shows Sarah emerging from the bloody pool, her "woman warrior" moment.

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