The original ending of ''The Descent'' you won?t see in theaters -- We tell you why the first ending was cut for U.S. audiences

By Michelle Kung and Vanessa Juarez
July 28, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
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With the eye gouging, disembowelments, and pickaxes to the neck, the upcoming British gorefest The Descent doesn’t leave much to the imagination. But there’s one thing you won’t see in the theater on Aug. 4: the horror flick’s original ending. While our friends in the U.K. — where The Descent has already come, gone, grossed $5 million, and been released on DVD — loved the film, they weren’t digging its überhopeless finale. So when the U.S. debut rolled around, Lionsgate decided to release Neil Marshall’s Deliverance-style tale about six female cave explorers slaughtered by a cadre of creepy crawlers without the downbeat finale. (What happens in the original? We’re not going to spoil it for you, but let’s just say the body count is different.)

”It’s a visceral ride, and by the time you get to the ending you’re drained,” says Lionsgate marketing chief Tim Palen. ”Marshall had a number of endings in mind when he shot the film, so he was open [to making a switch].” The director’s ultimate solution? Sub in one of his alternate shots, and cut the last minute or so of the movie. Of course, both scenarios are expected to make it to DVD, giving fans an opportunity — à la 28 Days Later — to choose the heroine’s fate for themselves. And if you decide to check out The Descent in theaters, remember: Even though the story has been perked up, that doesn’t mean everything is sunshine and lollipops. In fact, Marshall likens the denouement to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: ”Just because she gets away, does that make it a happy ending?”

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