Crawler space

Complete interview: The Descent director Neil Marshall on phallic caves, Iggy Pop-like troglobites, and good old-fashioned horror

(Caution: slight spoilers ahead!)

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Director Neil Marshall (kneeling, left) on the set of The Descent. Photo credit: Alex Bailey

Doing publicity rounds for The Descent (in Bay Area theaters Fri/4), British writer-director Neil Marshall called from — appropriately enough — a cave-like environment somewhere deep within darkest Hollywood. (“I’m just stuck in a small room with no windows at the moment. Serving my time.”)

SFBG: You’ve said that you don’t want The Descent to be seen as a chick flick — which it’s clearly not, of course. What inspired you to make a horror film with an all-female cast?

NM: It’s unique in this genre, certainly. It was very contemporary, and nobody’s tried it before in an action-horror movie. The story wasn’t about them being women, it didn’t hinge on them being women — it just, simply, they were. It’s perfectly believable in this day and age that women would go off climbing, go off caving. Why not? I didn’t think it threatened the believability in any kind of way. I just thought it’d be interesting, and be a lot of fun to do. It had the potential to be a lot of fun, but it also had the potential to be a complete nightmare.