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Viewed at the Marche du Film, Festival de Cannes 2009
Picking up almost immediately where The Descent left off, the bloodstained Sarah has made it out the cave system, is taken to hospital and then back into the caves as an unwilling member of a rescue party to find her missing friends.
If you saw the first film, then you know what happens in this one. If you know the horror genre, then you know who will get offed, too. None of which matters a hoot, because familiarity breeds respect and cast, director and writers, deliver exactly what viewers want. There are the crawlers, lots of blood, some nicely delivered shocks, plenty of gnarly special effects and women getting down, dirty and deadly with climbing axes, bare hands and lumps of rock.
Because all concerned have resisted the urge to widen the story, introduce new things for the heck of it (such as, I dunno, flying crawlers), The Descent: Part 2 is actually much stronger than is usually the case for sequels.
A left-field twist right at the end could be a set up for part 3, but it's hard to tell. While it didn't come as a surprise (those horror genres again), it did feel a bit tacked-on. But that's a very minor quibble and does nothing to detract from what is a great piece of horror entertainment and a worthy successor to its predecessor.
The Descent was a movie that really didn't seem as if it needed a
sequel. Yet here is this sequel to prove that . . . . . it really
Things follow on immediately from the end of the first movie but, be warned, it's the unliked, inferior ending that this movie chooses to go with and not the UK ending that so impressed fans. People are searching for the girls who went spelunking and, when they come across a lead, they decide to band together and enter the very cave system that others didn't return from. Makes sense (please, please register the sarcasm there).
This movie is not a terrible movie and would have been more palatable if adapted into something more original but it IS a terrible sequel to the fantastic first movie. It's a terrible sequel for a number of reasons.
First of all, it changes things that were left satisfactorily concluded at the end of The Descent, which is bloody infuriating. It actually sours your opinion on the overall story arch of the first movie until you go back and watch it again as a standalone piece.
Secondly, it not only has the audacity to repeat a few of the scares from the first movie but then goes on to follow them up with inferior, imitation scares that just don't work (remember the bad timing of the beeping watch in The Descent? see the exact same trick here but with a walkie talkie this time).
Thirdly, there's a final act that just seems to pile disappointment on top of disappointment. I can't go into detail without spoiling things so I won't but, trust me, the tension dissipates, you stop caring for people and there are no surprises.
Why is my rating so comparatively high then, in this case? Well, there are a few good scenes here and the first half of the movie led me alongside one or two characters I actually enjoyed spending time with. There's also a decent enough little punchline. But I really, really hope nobody tries to push for a part three. There should never have been a part two.
See this if you like: The Descent, The Cave, The Hills Have Eyes II.
Goodness. What a horrible, horrible follow-up to one of the best horror
experiences of the past decade.
Where the first film was suspenseful and claustrophobic, this film displays constantly open cave dwellings and is repetitious to the point were no suspense can be truly built. I swear this takes place in an entirely different cave system, despite the film claiming it's supposedly the same exact one. Not even the revisited stomping grounds look the same.
The original film also used light sparingly in an attempt to actually make the audience feel as if they were trapped in a cave with the cast of the film. This sequel constantly shows bright surroundings, with light coming from unseen sources--particularly overhead, making it feel as if these characters aren't inside a cave system in the first place. Apparently the cave dwellers like to place small lava lamps and glow sticks around their territory because they... rave? I'm not sure where all this light was coming from! Strangely our characters can't seem to see what's going on even with all of this illumination and they keep bumping into each other in the "dark." Maybe there were budget problems but that doesn't excuse the lousy script and characters. Shauna Macdonald tries her hardest to keep the film afloat (she's pretty solid with what she has been given to work with), but I imagine this would be like what Sigourney Weaver would be doing had she been trapped in an AVP film. She seems like the only honest character in the film, suffering from the events of the prior nightmare, but the supporting casts around her are nothing more than bumbling idiots.
You don't feel anything for any other member of the cast. Despite David Julyan's score swelling in some of the fateful scenes, I felt almost no emotion behind any of the events this time. None of the deaths or tragedies make an impact like the deaths of those in the original movie. In fact, one scene at the end tries to tie up a major story thread from the previous movie, but it simply comes off as tacky and against the grain of the characters we have come to know.
The final nail in the tragically shoddy coffin is the ending, which is also funny whether intentional or not.
Related Recommendations: The Descent, The Thing, Eden Log, Pandorum, REC, Cube, Pitch Black
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Descent 1 was probably one of the best Horror-Movies in the last decade. At least in my opinion that is. It had good actors, a great setting and interesting monsters. All things missing in most Horror-Flicks these days. When Sarah got stuck in that tunnel i thought my heart just stops beating. And there were not even any monsters in that scene. It were scenes like that, that made it a great movie. They never explained anything, you never knew what really happened. Did Sarah (and the others maybe too) just snap and did she kill all her friends? Were they only hallucinating? The sequel was a sure thing after the success. And a sequel of course destroys all of that. They need to bring explanations in a sequel, otherwise it's only lame. The story needs to be pushed further, that's what sequels are for. Descent 2 has no real story. A chubby sheriff forces a traumatized girl into a cave again, in which she nearly died shortly before? That's how they wanted to bring Sarah into the new Movie? Why did'nt they just use the other ending of Descent, where Sarah never escapes the cave? That way it would've made so much more sense for her to be there. How this chubby sheriff thinks he can climb down in that cave, makes you wonder too. He'd never be able to come very far in a cave like that. Then they find the camera, used in part one and you get proof that those monsters were not hallucinations of Sarah, they're on Film. One after another gets killed very bloody. Then they find Juno! Yeah the Juno we saw die in part one. The Juno who got jumped by twenty of these monsters after Sarah injured her badly. But we are to believe she survived all that. She became in the two days between part 1 and 2 an amazon-like fighter without any bad injuries. WTF? And she tells the others, she'd know the exit. So why is she still down there then and has'nt escaped already? The stupid sheriff meanwhile handcuffs Sarah to himself? Great Idea! No, actually more a desperate attempt to add some tension to the story. Things of course go wrong and the sporty sheriff of course falls down into a hole while Sarah lies above on the Ground screaming in pain. Instead of pulling him out of the hole (I mean, there were THREE girls there!) they decide to cut of his hand in a very bloody scene! Then Juno dies! Why pretend she survived only to kill her minutes later again? Sarah dies too. The other girl escapes the cave. But then the man that brought Sarah to the Hospital in the beginning of the movie finds her in the middle of a giant wood and knocks her out and brings her body back to the cave, apparently in order to feet the creatures. That's the end of the Movie. You never get to know why he did it, or more interesting why he did'nt do it to Sarah in the beginning, nor how and what he knows about the monsters. All in all this is not a real sequel but a poor try to re-tell part 1. You do not find out anything new. Nothing really interesting happens. And the thing with the guy is really stupid. It's a gory Horrormoie with some nice bloody scenes in it. But you'll find yourself desperately looking for some logic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw the premiere of this at Frightfest in UK. The film was introduced by the director (previously an editor) and actors - and the director's complete absence of any self-confidence when talking to the audience was a bad omen. Shauna McDonald even said "be nice to him... he isn't Neil Marshall - but he might just be better" which felt embarrassingly over-supportive. If he can't talk to strangers, is he really going to have the confidence to direct a film? Descent 2 is full of bad acting, flat characters (even Sarah and Juno seem suddenly devoid of character or depth), a very poor script, bad editing and very bad direction. Examples being - some badly timed or inappropriate attempts at humour, horrible exposition from Sarah that is totally out of character. The things that made the first film great - the depth of characters, the dynamics, the subtle back-story and the ambiguity of the events in the caves as a metaphor for Sarahs madness were completely absent from the sequel. Yet, it copies pretty much everything else, the overhead car shots (which Harris also edited into Eden Lake), the David Julyan soundtrack (which is excellent, and not lived up to by the film this time round), the cave shots and the endless 'boo' moments of crawler attacks. They're simply not interesting anymore if you have already enjoyed the first movie. The ending is simply horrible (not in a good way), completely incongruent and will infuriate many viewers. Its such a shame that the story wasn't developed into a new area into a film that could stand alone on its own two feet. You might think I'm being harsh on Jon Harris, the director, but I am honestly getting tired of first time directors messing up great opportunities for film-making. Fans of the first film really deserved better than this.
Somehow, they've managed to crap all over the mystery and wonder of the first film. I wouldn't have thought that possible, but here's two hours worth of what basically amounts to the same movie with different angles. There's a fine line between horror and annoyance, and the difference is evident between the original film and this sequel. The first had some great character development, witty dialogue, an intriguing plot. All of those things have been substituted for B-movie versions of same. Huge plot holes, impossible scenarios, expositional dialogue, and an ending that makes both films seem pointless. Don't even get me started on why there is light in some of the caves deep underground.
I'm sure this will be the general feel from the majority of reviews but I've got to say that the Descent part 2 is just what you should expect; Similar character development but less of; Similar direction/cinematography but less of; Similar jumpy frights but less of; Similar gore but less of; Similar crawlers but less of; Similar fun but less of. However, for a £3.5m budget, 1st time director and not much room to manoeuvre with the script it's definitely an enjoyable Friday night flick worth investing in. Hey guys it's a sequel and with few exceptions (which I'm sure are discussed ad nauseum on IMDb notice boards) sequels at best are watered down versions of the originals. Not as good as "The Descent" but certainly better than Mr. Marshall's "Doomsday".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A sequel. I should end my review right there. But in the interest of taking up useless e-space, I'll continue. For me, The Descent Part 2 had 2 strikes against it before the opening credits rolled. Director Neil Marshall has not stepped back behind the camera to further his already finished story and the sequel is a continuation of the North American ending. Now, if you're one of the special people who were able to see the original a year, or maybe more before the North American release, you'll know that the original ending is superior in every way. It wraps the story up, and fits in with the rest of the film's bleak, hopeless tone. I'm not sure if studios feel that us American's are stupid, or if we just are too fragile to handle a down ending, but whatever the case, our protagonist survives. Found running through the woods, caked in blood, she's rushed to the hospital. Found to remember nothing upon initial questioning, the sheriff leading the search for the other missing girls decides the best course of action is to take this woman-in-shock directly back to the place that caused her the trauma. Somehow, The Descent 2 manages to continue where the first film leaves off, but feel like a complete cash-in at the same time. Some scenarios are lifted directly from the original. In the first film, the overwhelming sense of claustrophobia was treated as a character in the movie. It's one of the reasons the first film was so effective. Seeing those petite women barely making it through the holes in the cave left you feeling uneasy. This is not present in the sequel. In fact, the sheriff is a pretty big guy. I'm not going to say he was fat, but he's definitely built, and he manages to move with ease throughout the corridors. The original actresses return to reprise the roles of Sarah, and Juno, whom is somehow still alive, even though we heard her screaming while she was torn to shreds in the first film. Apparently, in her 2 days of surviving the creatures in the cave, she's become some sort of commando, hunting down and killing the cave's inhabitants. She has a short part, and half of her part is spent completely silent. They try to describe it away by saying something to the extent of "Silence is your best weapon" but it feels tacked on. One of the biggest problems with the sequel is it's pacing. In the original, we weren't even introduced to the creatures until like an hour into the film. The entire first hour was spent on character development, and building suspense. We knew they weren't alone, they knew they weren't alone, but the menacing creatures weren't really introduced until the third act. Here, it's as if the director just wanted to get to the killing as quickly as possible. We don't know anything about most of the characters, and we don't care when they are killed off. In the original, you could tell that all the girls were close friends, and you could tell that when one of them was picked off, it effected the rest of the characters. Another problem I had were with some of the special effects. Don't get me wrong, there is some decent gore in The Descent 2, including one hell of an amputation scene, but there was something wrong with the blood. It's as if the special effects team have never actually seen blood before. When characters are wounded, we're treated with an arterial spray of what appears to be Cambpell's tomato soup, in both color and consistency. All in all though, it's a watchable flick. It's loaded with problems, some forgivable, some not(Random, unexplained twist ending.) But I've seen worse movies, and certainly worse sequels.(Butterfly Effect 2?) But if you enjoyed the creatures in the first film, you'll probably find something to like about the sequel, just don't expect it to be anywhere close to the brilliance of the original, and you'll have fun.
THE DESCENT 2 is like FINAL DESTINATION 2 or WRONG TURN 2 or about 100 other horror sequels, in that we get more of the same and it's usually not as good as the original. In this case, the editor of the first movie is the director of this one, and clearly wasn't given the greatest script to work with. But he does about as good a job as anyone in his position probably could. A rescue party goes into the caves to find the missing girls from the first movie, and they drag a shell-shocked Sarah from the first movie along with them. We do not have to wait long for the cave creatures to show up and start eating the would-be rescuers. Since we have been through this once already, there is far less shock value this time around. There are, however, a couple of kick-ass fight scenes and the film is perhaps even bloodier than the original. Accents are all over the place, as it was filmed in England and not in Appalachia, where it is supposedly set. In truth, Part 2 is not a must-see unless you are dying to see what happened to Sarah.
The original Descent movie is one of my favourite horror films, so I
was really looking forward to feasting my eyes on the second part. To
be fair, I wasn't expecting anything near as what the original movie
The Descent: Part 2 follows Sarah, the sole escapee of the cave in the first movie. She has amnesia and despite this she is questioned by police regarding the whereabouts of her friends. She then gets forced back down into the cave with a new team so they can discover what went on down there.
The film follows on right after the ending of the American version of the movie which wasn't really to my liking, partly as it's a British horror movie and also because the British ending of The Descent is so much better.
I was pleasantly surprised though, despite ridiculing the movie literally from start to finish by comparing it to the original (well I was watching it with friends). As a stand-alone movie this is a pretty good one. There were a few scenes just too similar to the original movie and some where just plain ridiculous, but in a good way if that makes sense.
The death scenes and the moments building towards them were executed brilliantly. Director Jon Harris executes eerie and scary suspense perfectly, pulling you into the scene in question. Furthermore, the scenes from the first movie are recreated perfectly so much so that you'd swear this movie was made at the same time as the original.
It's nowhere near as good as the original, but a surprisingly good sequel. Plot-holes and revealing mistakes aside, it's good fun, but don't be surprised if you're raising your eyebrow at the ending.
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