Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Descent 2

The Descent was a remarkably tense flick about a group of female cavers who find themselves trapped underground in an unexplored cave system, and at the mercy of humanoid-but-oh-so-bestial cave-dwellers who had a hankering for some lady-meat.  The confident direction by Neil Marshall only introduced the creatures half-way, resulting in a film of two distinct sections (similar to the structure of From Dusk Till Dawn).

Most notable was the slow-burn clausterphobic build-up, half-seen glimpses of the cave-dwellers, before the movie descended into a brutally tense climax.

The UK version of The Descent had a downbeat ending which capped the film perfectly, while the US release had Sarah, one of the female caves, escaping.

The Descent 2, this time helmed by Jon Harris, starts immediately after the events of the first film. Sarah is found, but it appears that one of her fellow cavers, Juno, was a Senator's daughter.  Suffering from amnesia, Sarah accompanies a search party back into the cave system.

This time we know what's waiting in the caves, and we just want the movie to get on with it; that's one of several flaws in the sequel.

The bestial cave-dwellers are more muscular than in the first film, meaning it's harder to accept the outcomes of the various fights.  I recall the scrawnier beasts in the first film just being more "real", more "natural".

There's enough gore to keep genre-fans happy, and an unpleasant moment when Sarah finds herself in a shit-pit (I can find no better way to describe it). The direction is competent, but by its very nature could not imitate the contrasting two-half structure of the first.

The disappointing ending, however, blatantly (and rather cheaply) sets up the premise for a second sequel.

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