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Characters / The Descent

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    Sarah Carter 
Played By: Shauna Macdonald

  • Action Survivor: She's forced to become this to survive both the cave and the Crawlers.
  • Ax-Crazy: Still suffering from the trauma of the car crash that took her family, Sarah becomes even more unhinged once the Crawlers attack.
  • Break the Cutie: Starting with the death of her husband and child, and then the death of Beth.
  • Final Girl: She's the last one alive, but the UK ending makes it clear she'll be dead soon.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Although she's not the most mentally sound after the death of her family, she gets hit with a bad case of this after learning that Juno left Beth to die, and then it really sets in with the revelation that Juno and Paul were having an affair.
  • Howl of Sorrow: She lets out a pretty magnificent one after killing Beth and fighting off numerous Crawlers.
  • Mirror Character: Her Howl of Sorrow is designed to sound like a Crawler shriek, and she eventually even moves like a Crawler. By the time Sarah finally gets back with Juno, Juno is a little freaked out, because by that point, Sarah looks just as frightening as the Crawlers.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Her daughter died in the car accident in the beginning of the film, along with her father (Sarah’s husband).
  • Sanity Slippage: Sarah seemingly didn't seek any psychiatric help to deal with the trauma of the car accident that killed her family; throughout the film she hallucinates, has terrible dreams and her mental state only grows worse from there on. Because of this, she makes the not-so-wise decision of picking Juno in the leg right after a huge fight against the crawlers. Apparently she can handle them all herself!
  • Sole Survivor: Out of Sarah, her husband Paul, and their young daughter Jessica, only Sarah survived the car accident at the beginning.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sarah was initially a rather meek, quiet woman still suffering from the trauma of her losing her family. Over the course of the film, she finds new ways to deal with that trauma by turning into a killing machine.
  • Woman Scorned: There is a subtle wedge between her and Juno caused by their shared affections for Sarah's late husband.

    Juno Kaplan 
Played By: Natalie Mendoza

  • Accidental Murder: While fighting off Crawlers, she reacts without thinking and mortally wounds Beth on accident, eventually leading to Sarah having to Mercy Kill her.
  • Action Girl: Rises quickly against the Crawler threat compared to the others.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That!: She's the one who's snuck up on, and it leads to very tragic consequences, namely Beth's fatal injury.
  • Foil: To Beth. Beth is Sarah's kind best friend who protected and supported her throughout her all-consuming grief over her husband and daughter. Juno is a selfish, impulsive adrenaline junkie who gets them all killed as a result of her recklessness.
  • It's All About Me: Juno's biggest flaw is how self-obsessed she is, viewing others only in relation to her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She makes some serious dick moves throughout the movie, but she genuinely cares about her friends and does everything she can to try and get them out of the caves.
  • Left for Dead: Her eventual fate; Sarah wounds her and abandons her to the Crawlers. She does wind up finding an opening, but, after she gets out, we don't see her again.
  • The Mistress: For Sarah's husband, Paul.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not overt, but it's there. Natalie Mendoza certainly shows how flexible she is, and all the dirt somehow seems to emphasize her beauty. There's also some slight cleavage on display.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The look on her face says it all when she realizes that she fatally injured Beth, mistaking her for a Crawler.
  • Never My Fault: Refuses to accept responsibility for any of her major screw ups: lying to the group about what cave they were in, her affair with Paul, or her Accidental Murder of Beth.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: She refuses to leave anyone still alive behind, and does her best to find them after they ended up separated by the Crawlers.
  • Spicy Latina: If she shares the same background as Natalie Mendoza, Juno has Spanish and Filipina ancestry, but she's also very Hot-Blooded.
  • Token Minority: In a group full of white women, she's the only woman of color.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She impulsively goes to a completely different, uncharted cavern rather than the one the group planned on exploring, and without letting them know. This results in stranding them with no hope of rescue in a vicious environment that threatens to kill all of them. And that's before they encounter the Crawlers...
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Although less of an example than Holly, who dies first, Juno is Left for Dead in the closing moments of the film by Sarah.
  • What You Are in the Dark: She abandons Beth after mortally wounding her and hides her actions from her friends. Conversely, she also goes well out of her way to save her surviving friends, calling out to them and risking that the Crawlers would find her.

    Beth O'Brien 
Played By: Alex Reid

  • Almost Dead Guy: Hangs on long enough to tell Sarah of Juno's actions despite her wounds.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After being mortally wounded and dragged to the Crawlers' feeding ground, Beth begs Sarah to kill her rather than let her keep suffering in the dark.
  • Big Sister Instinct: To Sarah, though they aren't actually sisters.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her responses to Juno are often witty remarks.
  • Hot Teacher: At one point she notes that she's "an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider".
  • Left for Dead: By Juno, who didn't anticipate that she'd live very long after taking a pick to the neck.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Sarah after the death of her whole family.
  • Mercy Kill: Given one by Sarah after being left to die by Juno.
  • Only Sane Man: Beth is the most sensible, level-headed and rational of the group.
  • The Smart Guy: It comes with being a teacher. Beth's the one to figure out there's another exit to the tunnel by studying cave paintings.
  • True Companions: With Sarah. Juno, Sarah's supposed best friend, abandoned her after the tragedy but Beth stood by Sarah and supported her the whole way through.

    Sam Vernet 
Played By: MyAnna Buring

  • Chekhov's Gun: Her wristwatch, which she specifically notes has tiny buttons that make it impossible to properly operates. After running into the Crawlers, her inability to properly operate the watch causes its alarm to go off while she and Rebecca are trying to hide, nearly getting them both killed.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Has blonde hair and is a very sweet-natured character.
  • The Medic: Of the group; she's training to become a doctor. She puts to her skills to use in patching up Holly's busted leg.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • It's a sure sign that things have gotten serious when she stops hiding behind Juno and Rebecca and goes on the offensive of her own accord.
    • She tends to chafe under Rebecca's mothering behavior, scolding her for helping with safety equipment and ignoring her list of precautions by reciting "blah, blah, blah..." But after realizing that they're trapped in the cave, Sam immediately goes to Rebecca for a hug, indicating just how frightened she is.
  • So Much for Stealth: Her gift watch goes off as she tries to hide from Crawlers, but luckily ditches it before she and Rebecca are found.
  • Slashed Throat: Has her throat ripped open by one of the Crawlers.
  • Taking You with Me: After having her throat torn out, she manages to stab the Crawler that did it. Subverted, as it survives, but the weapon she left lodged in the Crawler gave Juno a means to finish it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A meek, sweet, and childish student doctor who manages to fight off and kill several of the Crawlers.
  • Womanchild: Comes across as a goofy and overly innocent character, especially in comparison to Rebecca's rule-focused cautiousness. Early on, she can be seen wearing silly glow-in-the-dark glasses to get a laugh out of Holly, keeps an extremely gaudy wristwatch that looks like something a child would wear, and Beth snarkily remarks that they must be teaching her to "take the piss" at medical school. For good measure, she tends to take shelter in her big sister's arms when frightened.

    Rebecca Vernet 
Played By: Saskia Mulder

  • Big Sister Instinct: To Sam, whom she loves dearly, though Sam finds her aggressive mothering a little exasperating. Rebecca puts herself in danger and even considers abandoning the others to ensure Sam survives.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In a deleted scene, the sight of Sam being killed by the Crawlers completely destroys what little remains of her spirit, reducing her to a sobbing wreck that Juno can't convince to move on in the journey. And then the Crawlers kill her too.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: She's utterly ripped open by a Crawler in the most graphically horrific death in the film.
  • Fingore:
    • She suffers a vicious rope-burn to the hand while helping Juno across a pit, stinging her fingers and ripping her palm open.
    • Later, she's grabbed by a Crawler and dragged down a tunnel, ripping out several of her fingernails as she tries to claw for a handhold. This one ends with her being murdered.
  • Freak Out: Finding the Crawlers’ feeding ground completely breaks her composure, and she starts screaming out for help even though logically there's no way anybody could hear her.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: She's killed when a Crawler drags her down a tunnel and tears her belly open.
  • Hysterical Woman: Once they encounter the Crawlers, Rebecca cracks badly and begins worsening the situation with emotional outbursts.
  • Team Mom: She's very much a safety-first character who tends to focus on the minutiae that Juno and Holly can't be bothered with, and does her best to advise the others on caving safety - especially Sam.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rebecca is very quick to call out Juno on her recklessness when it gets them trapped in an uncharted cave with no hope of rescue.

Played By: Nora-Jane Noone

  • The Apprentice: She's described as Juno's "protege" and easily matches her in enthusiasm for extreme sports and reckless behavior - occasionally exceeding them.
  • Boyish Short Hair: As part of her tomboy nature.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As reckless as she is, Holly is openly horrified to discover that Juno is taking them on an unplanned exploration of an uncharted cave, and when Juno tries to defend herself by pointing out that Holly thought that the original cave was boring, Holly explodes with rage at Juno for the first time in the entire story.
  • Fearless Fool: Her total lack of fear is an extreme liability in a situation where safety is vitally important; even before things go downhill, she's already rappelling down into the cave entrance at high speed without bothering to warn anyone in her way or hitting the breaks - earning her a reprimand from Juno of all people.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Rushing ahead of the others results in her falling down a pit and breaking her leg, leaving her unable to climb under her own power - and leaving her unable to run or fight back when the Crawlers ambush the team.
  • Jerkass: Holly is something of a loud-mouthed, tactless jerk, though the girls try to be patient with her.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Not to put too fine a point on it, Holly is first to rush in where angels fear to tread and will frequently use methods too reckless even for Juno. It results in her breaking a leg in her eagerness to escape the cave.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: A hardcore 'sports fuck' who enjoys basejumping and the like, she's easily the most enthusiastic of the team about caving next to Juno herself.
  • Miss Swears-a-lot: Holly rarely forgoes cursing when she speaks.
  • Reckless Sidekick: She loves climbing, but often ignores safety to Juno's frustration. It ends up breaking her leg when she rushes ahead of the others.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Her recklessness and tendency to rush forward blindly costs Holly her leg, and ultimately her life.
  • Vasquez Always Dies Holly is the most tomboyish and reckless of the group, and ends up the first victim of the Crawlers.

Played By: Craig Conway, Leslie Simpson, Mark Cronfield, Stephen Lamb, Catherine Dyson, Julie Ellis, Sophie Trott, Tristan Matthiae, Stuart Luis, Justin Hackney

A cave-dwelling off-shoot of humanity that feast on flesh.

  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: As brutal as they are, the Crawlers seem to be fairly close-knit and are not seen harming each other. They even seem to grieve the deaths of their own.
  • Big Bad: Of the entire film, they are the biggest threat.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Downplayed. Crawlers are actually blind but are able to perceive their environment by using echolocation, a real-life technique used by animals such as bats which consists in producing sounds that will bounce back on surroundings to give the individual a sort of fixed image of said environment. This is why the crawlers are heard clicking their tongues during the movie, as it is also how some real-life blind humans echolocate.
  • Fangs Are Evil: The first warning that they are savage creatures and are most certainly carnivorous.
  • Fragile Speedster: They're faster than a human, Wall Crawl, and can easily kill a human if they ambush them, but several humans manage to overpower them in a straight fight and they go down with a good hit.
  • Human Subspecies: They're cavemen who never left the caves and have since adapted to survive entirely in darkness.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: While the Crawlers appear to mostly feed on animals, they're not fussy when it comes to feeding on humans. According to Neil Marshall, they are evolved cavemen, so they could technically be considered cannibals.
  • Mama Bear: The first female Crawler seen in the film appears shortly after Sarah kills the Crawler's child. Upon learning that her child is dead (after a surprisingly sad moment of the Crawler desperately and pitifully nudging the body), she immediately goes berserk.
  • Morlocks: Cannibalistic subhumans living underground.
  • Non-Humans Lack Attributes: Genitals, nipples, etc. are not made visible on the Crawlers, though they are clearly capable of reproduction.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: All things considered, the Crawlers are really just animals. Vicious and bloodthirsty animals, sure, but they're behaving just like any other animal would when a food source wanders into their territory and endangers their young.
  • Sense-Impaired Monster: They have adapted so well to living underground that they're pretty much blind. As such, their sense of hearing is amplified to compensate; for good measure, they're prone to letting out earsplitting shrieks whenever their prey can't be found — possibly to frighten them into making sound. As such, the cavers have to remain still and quiet in their initial encounters with the Crawlers.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Male Crawlers are bald while female Crawlers have hair.
  • Wall Crawl: The first sign that they are something much scarier than any human. They are extremely agile climbers and can suspend themselves on ceilings with ease.

Alternative Title(s): The Descent Part 2