In the Last Descent, John Jones (Chadwick Hopson) flies into Utah with his wife (Alexis Johnson) and young daughter to spend thanksgiving with his extended family. His younger brother, Josh (Jacob Omer), picks them up from the airport to take them to their parents’ house. On the way Josh tells john that the Nutty Putty cave nearby has been reopened and that the only way to begin their vacation is to explore it immediately. The brothers grab their gear and begin their descent. During their adventure, Josh becomes dangerously wedged in the cave and is forced to fight for his survival.
A large portion of the film takes place in the caves. And like all movies in this setting, it frequently invokes extreme claustrophobia. Numerous times I had to remind myself to breathe and that I wasn’t the one stuck underground. These scenes are really well done but could cause distress viewers with an acute phobia.
With its Utah setting, and Mormon protagonist, it’s not surprising that The Last Descent frequently references things in LDS faith and Utah culture. These scenes are handled well in that the subjects are accessible to all viewers without getting caught up in over explaining.That being said, I wouldn’t entirely categorize this film as a religious drama (like those of Sherwood Pictures). The theme of religion serves more to provide a context for John and his life.
The story starts off pretty rocky. Initially, the script feels clunky and slightly goofy but once the situation gets serious, the dialogue vastly improves. Despite it’s occasional cheesey tone, The Last Descent successfully crafts some very emotional moments. The simple conversational scenes between John and Aaron (Landon Henneman),a member of the rescue team, are especially moving.
The Last Descent isn’t perfect. But if you look beyond its script faults, it is a very touching and symbolic film about life and finding out what really matters. I highly recommend it to my fellow Mormon friends (as they are the target audience). Outside of that market,I think the average moviegoer will find it to be decent.