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.