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The Descent: Part 2

The Descent: Part 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1.5 out of 5

NEIL Marshall’s The Descent was one of the best horror films of recent years; Jon Harris’ sequel is, sadly, one of the worst.

Whereas Marshall’s lean, claustrophobic chiller was high on originality and nerve-shredding tension, Harris’ follow-up is a formulaic retread that offers nothing new to the original and even detracts from the memory of it.

Harris insists the sequel boasts a “seamless continuation” of the original, picking up as sole survivor Sarah (once again played by Shauna Macdonald) emerges from the Appalachian mountains and is almost immediately forced by a sceptical local sherriff to lead a team back inside the caves to find her five former colleagues… this despite the fact she’s clearly traumatised and amnesia-ridden.

Once inside, however, her survival instincts kick back in as she, said sherriff, his deputy and a three-person rescue team are forced to confront a new batch of Crawlers and an even fiercer battle for life.

Admittedly, Harris retains some of the claustrophobia surrounding the first film by virtue of the movie’s dark, underground settings, and there is the odd moment, or action sequence, that references the events (and deaths) that preceded this well.

But Harris struggles from the outset to escape the notion that this is a cash-in sequel and resorts to ever more crass and desperate scenarios to breathe fresh life into the fast ailing ‘franchise’.

Audiences really don’t need to witness the Crawlers’ toilet habits, while the violence this time around feels more voyeuristic and gratuitious. The shock factor is also missing, particularly as we now know what populates the dark.

Worse still, the belated revival of another of the first film’s characters (and we won’t reveal who here) feels like a cheap device that comes at the expense of any logic or intelligence.

A willfully nihilistic ending may also feel audiences more than a little short-changed as Harris seems more interested in preserving the franchise prospects than delivering anything remotely resembling a satisfying finale. All in all, The Descent: Part 2 sucks.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 94mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: April 12, 2010