MOVIE: The Descent: Part 2 (2009)

I had some complaints about Neil Marshall’s 2005 film The Descent, mostly about the cave creatures themselves, which made little scientific sense to me (for example, we’re supposed to believe they’ve evolved out of using their sense of sight because they live in caves with no light and therefore have no use for it.  But this makes no sense because they also hunt above ground — and frequently, if the sequel is to be believed.  But in any case, even if they did evolve out of using their eyes, why did they also evolve out of using their noses?  Because they clearly also have no sense of smell, not even a regular sense of smell, and that makes no sense whatsoever).

BUT WHATEVER.  Despite those complaints, after watching it a few more times in the past few years, I’ve grown to appreciate many things about the original.  It’s extremely entertaining, for sure, but it also has very solid characters, fully-drawn with complex, intriguing relationships.  It’s not just about cave monsters and blood and guts — it’s about the six women friends themselves and the way they work and don’t work together, the way their various personal problems get  in their way, and their resiliency and reactions under stress.  Good writing in this film, is what I’m saying.  Also, it has some truly suspenseful/scary moments, which is a rare thing in a modern horror flick, at least for me.

So, appreciating the original as I finally do, it was with some trepidation that I sat down a couple of nights ago to watch the sequel, which I’d been hearing about for a few years and was surprised to find had gone straight to DVD (never a good sign!).  But, wonder of wonders, I actually enjoyed it!  It pales in comparison to the original, in part because it suffers from the usual problems with horror sequels (excessive focus on gore instead of characters/plot, e.g.), not to mention a ridiculous number of story elements that make no sense whatsoever.  Nevertheless, it’s still pretty fun to watch, which both surprised and pleased me greatly.

It starts off roughly where the original left off — with the character Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) finally escaping the caves and getting back to civilization.  Covered in blood, she’s rescued and taken to a local hospital, where the cops begin to question her and discover she’s lost all memory of the previous few days and has no idea where her friends are.

The search and rescue team that has been exploring the cave system in the meantime has had zero luck in finding any trace of Sarah’s pals, and they know the longer they go, the less likely they are to find anyone alive.  So the cops decide the only solution is to send Sarah back into the caves herself. . . because what could possibly help more than sending a severely traumatized woman with ZERO memory of her ordeal back into the very place that severely traumatized her to begin with, right?

Er, wait. . .  Yeah, that makes no sense.  But never you mind, people.  Never you mind.

In any case, the search and rescue team (trained cavers) and two cops (total caving rookies — it made no sense to send them in either, if you ask me) go back down into the caves with Sarah, where, naturally,  they are viciously attacked and killed one by one by sightless, smell-less ex-people-thingies.  Lots of blood and gore this time — way, way more over the top than in the original — but most of the obnoxious characters are put out of their (our) misery right off the bat, and soon we’re left with just Sarah, the female cop (who I really liked and was rooting for all the way), and, well, I won’t tell you who else.

SURPRISE!

The last scene has a “twist” I saw coming from the very beginning of the film, and anybody who has watched a lot of Scooby Doo episodes will probably see it coming too.  But overall, this is a pretty entertaining sequel and I had a good time watching it.

If you liked the original, I think this one is going to be worth a rental for you.   You’ll be disappointed, for sure, but I think you’ll still come away glad you saw it, and it’ll likely give you new appreciation for its predecessor.  I’ve certainly seen dumber movies set in caves (The Cave, for example, which, despite its serious lamenesses, I still greatly enjoyed — in no small part because Dimples is in it, humina humina).  Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Krysten Cummings, Gavin O’Herlihy

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One Response to “MOVIE: The Descent: Part 2 (2009)”

  1. Leslie Says:

    I saw the trailer for this flick just yesterday, and I couldn’t *imagine* what would make Sarah go back into those caves. Ah, amnesia, the hack writer’s friend.

    Now, with that question answered, I’ll try to imagine a movie with *way* more blood than the original, which I remember as having literal pools of it. My.

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