The Descent, a film about a group of adventurous women and their fraught caving expedition, is probably in my Top 5 favorite horror movies of all time, and is surely a modern classic. First of all, it’s scary as hell; the darkness and claustrophobia of spelunking are already terrifying, and that’s before you get to any supernatural elements. But above all else, I think this is one of the most natural depictions of women and their friendships and conflicts of any movie I’ve ever seen, in any genre.
The women in this movie are legitimate badasses, extremely competent, and physically powerful without their bodies becoming the focus of the male gaze. They are supportive of each other and work together to solve problems, and they falter and argue in a very human way. (The fact that I’m applauding a movie for portraying women as humans is both comforting and upsetting…but let’s be happy about it here).
The Faculty of Horror podcast has a fantastic episode on The Descent which brilliantly dissects the movie and echoes a lot of my own thoughts. I definitley recommend a listen.
Sarah is our clear protagonist, who has experienced a loss I don’t know if I personally could come back from. Juno, her closest friend, is more complex. Like Alex from The Faculty of Horror, I’m a Juno apologist; she’s my favorite character in the movie, from her ferocious love of the people close to her to her desperate recklessness to her shutting down when it’s all too overwhelming. Her necklace with the engraving “Love Each Day” is cheesy, yes, but it embodies her; she experiences the world on a pure, raw level.
For my recipe, I made an energy bite, perfect for whatever adventure we ladies get up to. It’s got dates and flax seeds, nutritionally dense staples that I hear sporty people are into (My actual tweet from when I first watched this movie. Ahem. “This movie’s making me want to be more sporty. [Reclines, sips wine]”). I’m just kidding, I go outside once in awhile. The main thing though is apples, which, come on, apples are the classic symbol of temptation and indulgence, it’s in my damn logo. Before any real trauma, the caving ladies stop for a break; Juno heartily devours an apple and Sarah noticeably declines.
The other ingredient I included drawn from the film is lemon zest. In a very tense scene, Sarah has a panic attack and Beth (the sweetest, most wonderful character) tells her a very cute joke about a lemon to calm her down. And it’s so good! I tasted the mixture before and after the addition, and the lemon zest both makes the bites delightfully bright and brings out every other flavor. Beth’s joke ftw.
I refered to Minamalist Baker for a general technique, but as my ingredients are super different and it still worked, I’ve concluded you can pretty much make these to your preference.
Apple Lemon Energy Bites
- 3 ounces dates (rehydrate for 10 minutes in warm water and drain if they are super dry, I didn’t need to)
- 3 ounces dried apple
- 1 ounce candied ginger
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
In a food processor, blend dates, apple, and ginger, until the pieces are small and it forms a moist ball. Break up the ball by hand into pieces in food processor, it will help the rest blend. Add lemon zest, oats, and flax seeds.
Blend to a fairly uniform mixture (will be grainy). Form heaping tablespoons into balls on a plate, then set for 10 minutes in the freezer. Take on your caving expedition.