This Week’s Worst Movie Ever: Descent


Every week, we find a new Worst Film Ever and deliver it to you as a public service. These films should be avoided at all costs, but if you absolutely have to see them, strap on your rosary beads and prepare to lose your faith in film! This week’s Worst Movie Ever is:

Descent (2007)

Synopsis: Maya (Rosario Dawson) is a college senior whose entire psychological demeanor shifts from dull to dull and murderous after she’s sexually assaulted by a douche bag (Chad Faust). Shifting from solid student and general good girl, she gets lost in the after hours club world of hard drugs, random fellatio and then plots revenge on the guy that shattered her innocence.

Directing at its worst! It’s impossible to say anything positive about the directing or cinematography because it’s unremarkable in almost every way. The shots are pretty standard and uninspired, but the real tragedy is that the most visceral moments of the movie – the rape scenes – are done in a cowardly way. It’s unclear whether the shots are supposed to be detailed and intimate or unflinching and raw, making the scenes confusing and worthless. What could be incredibly strong, devastating moments become convoluted and cringe-worthy for the wrong reasons.

The final rape scene is so confusing that it’s unclear as to who is doing what to whom for some time. The completely dark setting and camera saturation doesn’t help.

Acting at its worst! The acting is completely wasted. It’s Rosario Dawson. How bad could it be? I’m sure I thought the same thing before seeing it, but her character does nothing the entire film. For about 100 minutes, you’ll see her engaged in cardboard cliche dialog that matches the sweater she’s wearing – both probably gifted to her by her grandmother at Christmas.

People talk behind her back about how disconnected she’s become, people do drugs and the director really gets into rave-scene imagery, but Dawson barely has any lines to develop into anything. Chad Faust isn’t terrible, but he falls prey to the same problem of having nothing to form a character from – in the end, he ends up being a stereotype of an attacker.

Essentially, it’s the equivalent of giving actors the toilet paper Uwe Boll wiped his ass with and expecting them to come up with lines and actions from it.

Writing and Story at their worst! With everything being as boring as it is, it’s clear that Descent is one of the worst films ever made because of the story. Almost nothing makes sense. There’s nothing interesting about Maya from the beginning, and a host of questions remain after her attack – why she doesn’t go to the police, why she doesn’t have any friends, why she’s working at The Gap, among many others – and instead of dealing with the reality of rape, the film doesn’t deal with anything at all. Basically, a really boring girl is date raped, and turns into a zombie for the next hour until she discovers drugs and alcohol which turn her into a drunk zombie. Just when you think there might be some action or dialog, there’s more techno music and bad editing.

The club scenes are awful and add nothing to the story, certainly nothing to help Adrian, the hedonistic character that draws Maya in. He spends most of the time shoving things into his body, swaggering for no reason, and sticking his penis into girls. The only hint at his homosexuality or bisexuality is in a split second where the edge of the frame of one shot catches a guy sucking him off in the background. Because, you know, it’s not an important plot point that he might be down to bugger the guy that raped Maya as a means of revenge.

And then, out of the blue, Maya flirts with and asks out the very guy who raped her – a guy who somehow thinks that a girl he raped has the hots for him. Had the characters been set up well, it’s sort of plausible, but without it, you’re left wondering how a guy could be that obtuse. But there’s no time to be confused, because the date ends with Maya blindfolding the guy and letting Adrian go to town on the rapist’s exit-hole. The film abruptly ends, with no closure or understanding as to why getting a drugged up guy to rape the guy that raped you makes it all better, after an excruciatingly long rape scene where nothing different happens for minutes on end. What should have been brutal becomes repetitive and boring. At least it matches the rest of the film!

The Soul Crush: There are a ton of awful scenes in this flick, but it would be impossible not to say that the final scene isn’t the worst of them all. After what seems like a full week of watching scenes devoid of character or plot, Maya takes revenge on the guy that raped her by getting her new surprisingly homosexual coke-head sado-master to, you probably guessed it, rape him right back. It’s perhaps the only scene in movie history to be both a static shot and a flash-edited mess – how this is possible is unclear, but it evokes the violent release of every bodily fluid the audience might have been foolish enough to carry into the theater without evoking any artistic merit.

Simply put, the scene forces itself on your eyeballs without any consent. If only there were a shorter word to use for that action.

Final Thoughts:

Descent is the cinematic equivalent of a feminazi ranting to no one in particular. It deals with an immensely serious topic and handles it with the care a date-rapist might give his victim after drugging her and duct-taping her soft hands to his bedpost. The characters are stereotypes or so pliable that their shifts make no sense. Solid actors are given nothing to do for almost two hours bookended by the two most poorly shot rape scenes in the history of celluloid. What’s a real shame is that there are some fascinating rape/revenge films out there – I Spit on Your Grave and Irreversible come to mind – that shine a light on just how bad and exploitative this film is.

Watching this movie will make you angry at Talia Lugacy the writer/director. Hell, it’ll make you mad at the camera company that sold her a camera. To call this film unwatchable is like calling a week-long colonoscopy only slightly uncomfortable. Trust us, and avoid this film at all cost. This week, it’s the Worst Movie Ever.

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