Yet another reason to NEVER go caving or pot-holing. The Descent Part 2 follows on from the pretty confusing ending of the first, promising more action, more thrills and a more glossy, ‘hollywood’ visage.
But, does the concept really warrant a bigger budget. And can caves containing weird grey people with sharp teeth really hold much more potential for fear?
And importantly, is a new director Jon Harris going to be able to do the original film justice with this sequel?
Hmmm, where to start.
Well, remember the end of the first film (Descent spoiler alert) when Sarah escapes, leaves the cave, gets in her car and drives to safety?
Then all of a sudden she hasn’t escaped and she’s back in the cave with the ghost of her dead daughter?
Well, it turns out that she didn’t escape. Well, not then anyway.
At the start of Part 2, she has escaped, but just not the way that she did in the first.
Now you see why I didn’t like the ending of The Descent.
Tidying up this mess was always going to be Part 2’s first (rather big) challenge.
Anyway, Part 2 begins, and Sarah is free from the evil creatures that dwell underground.
She’s taken straight to hospital where she recovers from exhaustion and malnutrition, and as a natural defence, her mind shuts out the events of the past few days (yes, the film follows just days after the first) to prevent her from going entirely mental – good idea I say.
However, it turns out that her buddy/enemy, Juno was in fact a senators daughter and is therefore important enough for the police and rescue parties to be really desperate to find her.
With no evidence that the rest of the party are dead, and with some suspicion that Sarah is somehow responsible for it all, two local police officers force her – in her hospitalised state – to get up and go back into the maze of tunnels with them and some cavers.
The goal? To either save her friends or possibly to find evidence that she’s a killer, then lock her up.
Unsurprisingly, this is a very bad idea. As is the plan by the sheriff not to tell anyone else (the other police and rescue people) about the mission. Especially considering that his deputy is claustrophobic, and that Sarah is potentially a murderer and probably not a good person to have around in the dark.
And so the real adventure begins, lots of darkness, shapes moving in the torchlight, night-vision monsters, claustrophobic situations, slippery rocks and big, deep, dark holes.
It’s all done well, even better than before. I felt just as edgy watching this as I did the first. Harris manages to maintain the level of unease and discomfort while adding more frights/jumps and gore.
There’s no doubt that there’s more action, more blood, more nasty situations and seemingly the creatures are even more vicious.
However, the story is also more silly, and plot-lines are more predictable. With added cheese (perhaps to appeal to the US market even moreso) and ultimately, an ending that could be even sillier than that of the first film (yep, sounds almost impossible doesn’t it?)
The film oozes improved quality. There are some better-known actors making an appearance, and the monsters and general effects are undoubtedly more convincing, thus helping to make the whole feature more scary.
I’m a fan of gore, so enjoyed the jets of blood, up until the point that the sheer volume of red mush stopped making the audience say ‘yuk’ and began to make them giggle.
To some extent, the whole experience is a little too predictable. We’ve established who the hero and the villains are, and we know all too well what lies in store for us in the dank depths. If it wasn’t for the fast pace and levels of action, The Descent Part 2 would be mediocre at best.
But, thankfully, the cast and technical execution of the story salvage it from averageness and make it a good, fun movie.
It’s highly likely to cause diehard Descent fans some frustration; but from a horror-lovers perspective, it has more than enough to keep you happily perched on the edge of your seat (and far away from any caves!).
The Descent: Part 2 is released in the UK this Friday (4th December).
Official site: http://www.thedescent2.co.uk/
Additional film information: The Descent: Part 2 (2009)