Neil Marshall’s ‘The Descent’ Explores the Concept of Female Strength [The Lady Killers Podcast]

“I’m an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider.”

What does it mean to be a strong woman? Is it visible muscles à la Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day? Is it impressive feats of strength like climbing a mountain or braving white water? Is it putting yourself in harm’s way to save a friend? As it turns out, the answer is all–and none–of the above. There is no one way to be a “strong woman.” Sometimes it’s as simple as just showing up for the hard moments. Writer/director Neil Marshall explores the concept of female strength in his 2005 The Descent, a harrowing story of friendship and betrayal, strength and survival. In their latest episode, the Lady Killers kick off a series on Hidden Horrors by descending into the complicated themes of this terrifying film and facing off against the monsters lurking within the human heart.

One year after a tragic accident ripped her life apart, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) rejoins her group of adventurous friends for a weekend spelunking trip in the mountains of Appalachia. Their self-proclaimed leader Juno (Natalie Mendoza) has every confidence in their abilities, but she’s hiding a deadly secret. When the group becomes trapped in the cave with dwindling supplies, they face a new threat emerging from the shadows. But who are the true monsters? Are they the humanoid beings who’ve evolved to survive in the dark or duplicitous friends who manipulate and lie for their own selfish gains?

The Descent may be a terrifying creature feature, but Marshall’s twisting story is also a powerful metaphor for grief and PTSD. Co-hosts Jenn AdamsMae Shults, Rocco T. Thompson, and Sammie Kuykendall explore personal connections to this landmark film and highlight imagery and dialogue that have helped them make it through their own dark times. What are the benefits of a female main cast? Do they prefer the American ending or that final UK shocker? What is Juno trying to accomplish and why does she lie to her friends? How do you give a lemon an orgasm and why on earth would anyone ever willingly go into a cave? Opinions differ on the film’s true villain, but the Lady Killers are united in their love for The Descent and its amazing cast of strong female characters.

Stream below and subscribe now via Apple Podcasts and Spotify for future episodes that drop every Thursday.

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