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The Descent: Part 2 2009

Refusing to believe her story about cave-dwelling monsters, the sole survivor of a spelunking exploration gone horribly wrong is forced to follow the authorities back into the caves where something awaits...

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Solar rating: 6.3


Imdb rating: 5.8

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Action, blood, & guts! Still worth watching, I would like to see part III; overall, 6.5 out 10 rating.
It's not working for me. I just don't get scared in front of a screen anymore. 4/10
Th original Descent was a masterpiece; the sequel, not so much. It was alright, but not nearly as well developed, and the ending.... ugh. 6/10
What's scarier than the dark? Claustrophobia. The Descent had both - in abundance. And while this obligatory sequel avoids the pitfall of deviating too far from the rig, its mimicry of its predecessor quickly illuminates a scant justification for being.

Neil Marshall's 2006 nailbiter was a near-perfect terror trip which sent a troupe of intrepid women spelunking to certain death. Jon Harris' follow-on (suffixed Part 2) simply recalibrates the gender equilibrium - not to mention panders to bloodthirsty splatter fiends by ramping the spilling of viscera.

An immediate continuation of The Descent's less hopeless and unsatisfying American ending, Part 2 returns Shauna Macdonald's traumatised Sarah to the subterranean caverns which claimed her friends' lives. Things inevitably crumble into gore-slicked nightmare as she remembers: they weren't alone...

Having sharpened his claws in the original's editing suite, Harris at least knows how to handle the cannibalistic 'crawlers'. But it's a gaping abyss which separates setpiece-devising from the mounting of dread, which is why The Descent: Part 2 makes for one franchise you'll wish had stayed buried after its first expertly suffocating plunge.
I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. I was not much into the first one but I think this one is better. It still is one of these films where people can do silly things when its pretty obvious not to do them.
I've recently overdosed on needless movie sequels, especially horror ones, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the prospect of watching The Descent: Part 2 filled me with entirely the wrong sort of dread. In case you don't know, The Descent is not only one of the finest monster movies ever made, but possibly the most tense and claustrophobic thing you'll ever watch (indeed, having missed it first time round, it remains one of my most cherished ambitions to see it in the cinema). It also had an inconclusive but wonderfully bleak ending and, crucially, it never felt like a film crying out for a sequel.

And here it is!

There's an underlying problem here that should be obvious to anyone who saw the first film and the trailer for the second. I shant reveal it, it being something of a heavy spoiler for the first film, but suffice to say it counts as strike one against the movie itself.

Beyond has to be said, there's something very strange going on here. After a worrying seven or eight minutes in which strike one is firmly established, leaving the film looking a bit like any other of the recent raft of horror remakes/sequels, the film suddenly takes off in an attempt to recreate the claustrophobia and the danger of the original - in some ways a commendable move where it might have seemed easier to just rush into the action, and it's all very competently made, but at no point did I feel any of the discomfort I feel with the first film. However, I did find myself grudgingly coming round to the idea that, in spite of everything, this might just be a decent sequel.

It's also about that time that strike two comes into effect. Put simply, there are a lot of very, very silly moments in this film, moments which I refuse to name but which you'll spot immediately. Every time I found myself getting behind it, it would do something to undercut itself. All this isn't helped by the presence of a cop called Vaines, a jarringly out of place cheesy-action-movie-prick character played exactly as he's written by actor Gavan O'Herlihy. Also, there's one woefully misjudged (and hugely spoilerous) moment late on in the film which might make fans of the original weep. Bitterly.

And yet, after that moment (which from hereon in I shall, in honour of the good doctors Kermode and Mayo, refer to as The Unfortunate Event) comes a twenty-minute finale which contains some great scenes, including what might be my favourite movie moment of 2009, about which all I'll openly admit is that it involves a decapitation.

And then, strike three: there's a twist. An achingly stupid, not entirely unexpected twist which is about as needless as it is unsatisfying, taking the wind totally out of 2009's most inconsistent and infuriating film.

So that's it, right? Three strikes and it's out, right? Well...not quite. You see, the truth is that despite all the mis-steps, The Descent: Part 2 succeeds not only as a horror movie, but as a sequel to one of the best there ever was. It may lack the claustrophobia of the original, but the monster elements are beautifully reenacted; the creatures are as fierce and horrible as ever. Also, the blood and the dirt, two of the original's most important qualities, remain gloriously intact. It's a frustrating, but ultimately worthwhile watch. Most importantly of all, it falls under the jurisdiction of the eighth and final rule: if you care about the original, you have to see it.

EDIT: Only after posting this review did I learn that the American cut of the original had a different ending from the UK cut, the actual ending being considered "too dark" for American audiences. It's from this pussy version of the ending that the sequel is taking its cue, which I think is an absolute dick-move. Firstly, the assertion that Americans are somehow genetically incapable of taking on a proper, bleak horror movie ending is unfair, insulting and just plain wrong. Secondly, why the fuck would you follow on from the pussy ending? It's the pussy ending! You're not supposed to treat it like a legitimate starting point. You're supposed to ignore it and pretend it never happened. I very nearly docked a point off the movie for this. In the end I decided not to, because I still think it's a worthwhile sequel, but still...I am seriously pissed off about this.
As horror sequels go The Descent: Part 2 wasn't bad because its similar to the first film in a good way. The ending leaves it up to interpretation as how the crawlers came to be, with the obvious room for a 3rd film. I think they could get away with a descent trilogy, but no more than that.
Sequel to the widely applauded The Descent the sequel had a lot to live up to. The unfortunate truth is, that while the gore and occasional jump are still there, the film lacks any new direction and fails to involve the audience. The film picks up with a search for the missing women before discovering that one, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), has survived and managed to escape. Forced to go back under ground by the Sheriff in search of the other women, she joins the search team and Sheriff's assistant who are the main protaganists for the sequel. Once back underground the killings start and the story unfolds much like any other horror flick.
It seems as though the film is toiling into insignificance in its opening exchanges thanks to wooden acting (actors who can't seem to decide what accent they're speaking in for one!) and an even more wooden and pointless script and any feeling for any of the characters is left behind at the entrance as the film struggles to grab hold of your attention. Luckily for the director the cave dwelling monsters inject a much needed boost of adrenaline into this dwindling sequel, and for a while you are left tense, wondering what is coming next. Inevitably though, the jumpy moments die down and the routine horror plot plods on as characters begin to get killed off.
Terrible terrible movie... absolutely rubbish predictable garbage. Bad acting with stereotypical actors. Its about as entertaining as AIDS!
Obviously, this film could never live up to the original, and probably should never have been made in the first place. However, as entertainment, it delivers, with some tense scenes and good acting. A stupid ending aside, this is a good popcorn movie.
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