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Old 13-09-19, 17:13   #1
Grizzly Bear
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Default The Descent: Influence on Tomb Raider

Warning! This thread focuses on the 2005 horror movie "The Descent", so if you're under 18 years old or if you find horror movies/violence and gore disturbing, don't read this and avoid the pictures!

"The Descent" is a horror movie that came out in 2005 and it quickly became a cult movie. Personally I consider it one of my favourite movies so I've been thinking about writing a deep analysis of its influence on the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy for a very long time; finally I've found some time so let's begin!

1) Ok, the first one is an obvious one, the iconic blood pool scene from TR13, it was really a clever easter egg (fun fact: in "The Descent" there is an easter egg to Tomb Raider, in fact one of the characters, Beth, mentions it before entering the cave, she actually says something like "I'm a teacher, not a Tomb Raider").



2) Another semi-direct reference to the movie is when Lara escapes the scavenger's cave at the beginning of TR13, the whole scene when she climbs her way out of the cave is very reminiscent of the same climb made by Sarah at the end of the movie.




Now, let's move on with the less direct references/influences;

3) Climbing Axes
Climbing axes are common tools among climbers, but they're mostly used to climb on ice.
Both "The Descent" and Tomb Raider feature climbing axes to climb even not-icy surfaces.
Another aspect is the use of climbing axes as a waepon, this is something extremely rare but it really worked on both franchises, especially for Tomb Raider (Reboot Lara's red axes are probably more iconic than her bow at this point).



4) The "creatures"
"The Descent" features the crawlers, and these creatures have some similar examples in the Tomb Raider latest trilogy, like the cannibal prisoners in the geothermal caverns (TR13) or the Yaaxil (Shadow).





5) Narrow passages/claustrophobia
A lot of the anxiety that comes from "The Descent" has been achieved through the clever use of narrow passages and the conseguent claustrophobia feeling. In the Reboot trilogy there are lots of examples of this, especially in Shadow.



6) Piles of bones/corpses
Both "The Descent" and "Tomb Raider" made a wide use of gore and blood; caves filled with dead bodies and bones really managed to make some of the environments scary and intimidating.




7) Lara's overall appearence and some traits of her personality
Sarah and Lara (I think it's interesting that their names are similar, too!) have very similar outfits, especially after Sarah loses her jacket/helmet.

They shares some similarities even with their personality/story:
-they both love extreme sports/adventure,
-they've experienced deep losses in their lives (Sarah lost her husband and her daughter, Lara lost her parents),
-they have to survive in a dangerous environment after their expeditions go wrong and they lose lots of friends/companions in the process.



8) "A survivor is born"
The theme of turning from a scared girl into a ruthless survivor is present in both franchises, both Lara and Sarah have moments when they almost lose their human side and become unstoppable savage killers in order to survive at any cost (Sarah's final fight reminds me of when Lara hunts Trinity down after Lara and Jonah get separated in Shadow, right before of the Pourvenir field section).



9) (Credit to LateRaider)
Camilla said when they were casting for Lara, she was told she'd be voicing a character named "Sarah" if she got the part.

Conclusion
I belive that TR13 was heavily inspired by "The Descent" in many aspects, maybe without that movie we wouldn't even have the Reboot or it would have been very different.
Personally I think it really helped in creating that "turning point" feeling in the franchise and it's nice to see that as Lara progresses and become more and more skilled/mature, the series is slowly going away from "The Descent" influence.
I wish some of the things inspired by the movie stay, though, for example the first meeting with the Yaaxil or the scary/narrow caves were amazing in Shadow, and those things could easily still be present even with a more matured and prepared Lara.

So what do you think about "The Descent" and its deep influence on the Reboot trilogy?

PS: If you're not familiar with the movie, here's the trailer, just to get an idea:

Last edited by Grizzly Bear; 20-04-20 at 07:07.
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Old 13-09-19, 18:53   #2
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I love this movie
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Old 13-09-19, 19:11   #3
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The Descent is an excellent movie! I love it. We can totally ignore the existence of the second movie though...

CD have never been shy on saying that The Descent was one of their top inspirations when making the reboot. I remember back in 2010 when it was announced and everyone was saying how similar it looked and during interviews the devs said it was a major source of material for them. I then got excited to watch it to see what it was about and I have 0 regrets.
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Old 13-09-19, 19:24   #4
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Originally Posted by VictorXD View Post
The Descent is an excellent movie! I love it. We can totally ignore the existence of the second movie though...
I still have to watch the second movie because it never came out in Italy
But everyone says it's not good so maybe I haven't missed much, but I think I have to find a way to watch it anyway...
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Old 13-09-19, 20:14   #5
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Oooh no please don't! It's an affront to the first movie and it's just a horrible experience all around. It's like a bad fan made parody. And I mean it, there's no exaggeration here at all.

A bad movie, a terrible sequel and an even worse waste of time.

I really wish I hadn't watched it, as all it does is damage the first movie's overall impression. It feels cheapened somehow.

It's not even worth a watch out of curiosity, seriously.
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Old 13-09-19, 20:26   #6
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Originally Posted by VictorXD View Post
Oooh no please don't! It's an affront to the first movie and it's just a horrible experience all around. It's like a bad fan made parody. And I mean it, there's no exaggeration here at all.

A bad movie, a terrible sequel and an even worse waste of time.

I really wish I hadn't watched it, as all it does is damage the first movie's overall impression. It feels cheapened somehow.

It's not even worth a watch out of curiosity, seriously.
Ok this sounds much worse than I thought! So I'm going to take the fact that it was never published in Italy as a "divine" sign and I'm not going to watch it

To be honest I've only watched a random clip on YouTube in which they had to cut a man's arm with the axe because he was about to fall and he would have made Sarah fall since they were linked.
I mean, it wasn't bad but it was just a couple of minutes without context so I can't really have an opinion of it.
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Old 14-09-19, 03:23   #7
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Aah yes, I remember that part. Not too pleasant

But yeah, the 2nd movie takes everything that is good about the first one and just destroys it. Even though the director of the sequel worked on the first movie as well he did not understand a single thing of what made the first one so special in the first place. Instead of a character-centric tragic story, all we get is gore and cheap horror with stereotypical and lousy characters.

Just so you can get an idea of how bad it is: they decided to redo the blood pool scene, but this time with a (badly made) fight and they replaced the blood with.... Yup, you guessed it. Poop. Instead of being shocked and amazed by the scene like we are in the original, we are just shocked, embarrassed and disgusted. And I don't know about anyone else, but quite a bit of questioning my life's choices at that point too.
They literally s***** all over one of the most iconic scenes of the first movie. They took something great and made it ****. In hindsight, it's rather fitting and symbolical portrayal of the sequel
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Old 14-09-19, 15:22   #8
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Grizzly Bear - thanks for the analogy. I enjoyed reading the comparisons and the photos and the Descent trailer (as a refresher to the movie).
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Old 14-09-19, 19:13   #9
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Am I the only one who hated this film? I found it unenjoyable in every aspect with not one single redeeming quality. So I guess the 2013 game faithfully paid homage to it, then, since my feelings on the game's presentation match.
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Old 14-09-19, 20:17   #10
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Am I the only one who hated this film? I found it unenjoyable in every aspect with not one single redeeming quality. So I guess the 2013 game faithfully paid homage to it, then, since my feelings on the game's presentation match.
No, you're not the only one. I hated it as well and I definitely hate how much of an influence it was on TR2013.
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