Neil Marshall’s THE DESCENT from 2005 was critically acclaimed, but it didn’t make a very big impression on me – I thought THE DESCENT was, ahem, decent… Well, it was rather unique in that all of the main characters were adventurous women exploring a system of caves, and sure, it did get claustrophobic, but I found the girls rather annoying and not very sympathetic. The movie also ended up in a genre I don’t really like: The Suit Yourself Movies.
Mountaineering. Exploring caves. Extreme sports. Why the hell did the chicks climb down the cave to begin with? If they didn’t voluntarily decide to expose themselves to danger, nothing would have happened. There would have been a difference if theyhad been hunted down the cave!
Anyway – in the first movie, the heroines were attacked by some kind of blind, humanoid, flesh-eating monsters dwelling in the unexplored Appalachian caves. One girl, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), survived and climbed – soaked in blood – out of the darkness.
THE DESCENT: PART 2 opens with Sarah running out in a road, where she’s picked up by a car and taken to a hospital. The girls have been gone for two days and rescue teams are out looking for them.
A tough sheriff (Gavan O’Herlihy from HAPPY DAYS and DEATH WISH 3! He’s become a little fat and old) persuades the shocked Sarah to join him and a small team of experts to once again climb down the caves and look for survivors. Since Sarah doesn’t talk, she doesn’t mention the monsters – and who’d believe her anyway?
Will the caves turn into a sloppy meat market for the monsters? You bet your ass!
THE DESCENT: PART 2 feels rather unnecessary. It also feels like a direct to DVD flick. I don’t understand why this isn’t a D2DVD movie. It’s the same movie one more time, but this time with a team featuring both men and women. Since we by now knowwhat’s lurking in the darkness, the monsters don’t come as a thrilling surprise. Sure, it may get claustrophobic, but we got used to that the last time around.
Some of the dialogue and acting is quite lousy, and you can be sure the sheriff fires his gun and causes a cave-in, although he was told not to bring his gun because of this risk. About two thirds into the movie, there’s a little surprise, but I experienced that as a little silly and I started laughing – I’m aching to tell you about it, but I won’t.
But what about horror, violence and splatter, then? It’s there. And it gets better as the story progresses. Sometimes it’s a little Fulci inspired; all throats being bitten off feels like sampled from Italian zombie movies, and what do you say, if there isn’t a scene sporting a baddie getting powerdrilled through the head! There are a few other hard, inventive scenes of violence and a couple of gory monster fights. One last twist in the movie’s final minute is completely incomprehensible and doesn’t make sense; it’s just there toshock and surprise.
No, THE DESCENT: PART 2 isn’t much to write home about, but the splatter and some stupidity means you can sit through it without problems.