The Descent: Part 2

Director: Jon Harris (2009)
Starring: Shauna MacDonald, Michael J Reynolds, Jessika Williams
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Following the grisly events of her first Descent, Sarah (MacDonald) gets herself rescued by local Appalachian cops and proceeds to forget everything. Since old friend Juno (Natalie Mendoza) is apparently something of a big deal, it's of utmost importance that a search & rescue is launched. Oh, and for the other girls too - although no-one seems to give a shit about Beth, Holly and the other two. Sheriff Ed Oswald (Reynolds) and Deputy Small (Williams) head into the underground caverns, dragging some cannibal-fodder and Sarah with them.

They find the missing girls. Well, bits of them. And predictably, things soon turn very messy and very violent. Sarah regains her memory just as the naked cannibal people arrive to finish what they started. Can she and her fellow potholers escape? Unlikely, but lets tune in anyway.

An atmosphere of complete pointlesness pervades every moment of The Descent 2. Even as it impresses by not being completely shit, it fails to make a decent case for its own existence. Literally everything it does is a repetition of the first movie's events. Sure it's quite a bit gorier and more violent, but it wasn't the violence that made the first Descent such a brilliant movie. It was Neil Marshall's masterful direction - making it as much about grief and claustrophobia as it was cannibals. It was about the relationships between the six girls. We loved it because they were all friends and we cared about them. Aside from Sarah, we have no reason to care about any of this new lot - and Sarah's arc was over and tied up by the end of The Descent anyway.

The otherwise brilliant Shauna MacDonald is wasted here. She barely speaks two lines in the movie's first quarter, and by the time Badass Sarah returns, she has a useless and annoying Deputy character to drag around with her. It's good to see her kicking cannibal nudist ass again, but much of the action is virtually indistinguishable from that of the first flick.

There are very good moments, but it's just a shame that they're buried in a film so pointless. It's well directed, and the kill scenes are even an improvement over the original's. And the beautiful, haunting score is back too. But it just feels incapable of breaking out from beneath its predecessor's quite considerable shadow. And although it isn't too awful, I'm not too keen on the perfunctory yet ridiculous 'twist' that comes during the closing moments. It suggests a sequel, but given Part 2's lukewarm reception, I doubt that there'll be one forthcoming.

The Descent: Part 2 is as disposable a sequel as one can get. It provides more of the same but fails to bring anything - at all - new to the table. If you enjoyed The Descent, then you may get a kick from the revisitation of old characters and environments, but it's ultimately an empty, hollow and forgettable experience. An unsurprising, intermittently enjoyable shame.

No comments:

Post a Comment