Most horrifying horror movie monsters: 19. The Crawlers (The Descent)
The Descent is the rarest of the rare – a horror movie starring an almost exclusively female cast. Not only that, but the women in the film are strong, competent cavers who fall prey to monsters not necessarily to incompetence, but because of circumstances. It’s a gripping horror movie that unabashedly respects women.
Wish we could say the same about the crawlers who infest the cave system depicted in the movie. Though, to be fair, you get the distinct sense that these monsters really, honestly don’t see gender. For one, they don’t have eyes. They’re also very, very hungry.
To truly understand the depth of the situation, though, we need to back up a bit. The Descent begins with a happy-go-lucky whitewater rafting trip that ends poorly. Sarah, one of the friends involved in the trip, is in a terrible car crash while going home. Her husband and daughter, both in the car, are killed. Sarah survives.
Cut to one year later, when the same group is going on a caving trip in the mountains of North Carolina. Sarah is still obviously traumatized and has become withdrawn. Her friends are apparently trying to help her move on with an adventure, just like the good old days.
However, their friend Juno, who has taken the helm, leads them into an unexplored part of the cave system. A passage collapses behind them, leaving the group stranded. That’s bad enough, but then they start to see pale, human-like creatures throughout the cave. The group even begins to encounter piles of human bones, but by then, it’s too late. The crawlers have got them.
The crawlers are masterfully creepy monsters. They’ve been living underground possibly for thousands of years. Evolution has taken away their eyesight, but they’ve developed incredibly good hearing and echolocation skills in the pitch-black caves. Their underground environment also means that the crawlers have developed unearthly pale skin. They can also scale rock walls, which gives them a terrifying advantage over the stranded cavers.
As if going into a deep, dark cave wasn’t freaky enough.