The Descent: Part 2 (Jon Harris) 2009

I swear I thought Neil Marshall was returning for the sequel.  Now that I finally rent it I find out he is just producing it.  What a let down.

So anyway, this takes place immediately after the first movie where Sarah escapes (I guess the original ending was full of shit).  So there is a massive search going on for Juno, who is apparently the daughter of a Senator or some big wig.  So immediately after Sarah is checked into the hospital she is checked right back out to help searchers navigate through the caves.

I just love that.  I mean, Sarah is so shell shocked that she has literally blocked the incident out of her memory, and the sheriff is just like “Bah! Throw a helmet on her and she will get over it.  Damn women and their vagina issues!”  Who the hell thought this was a good idea?  In fact, while we are somewhat on the subject, let me go off on a bit of a rant.  Why is it there is a common horror movie theme of bringing back people with severe trauma back to the scene of the horrible incident?  Descent 2, Friday the 13th part 5, Psycho 2; they all deal with people coming back to the scene of where they went crazy in some bass ackwards attempt to cure them of their trauma.  Who was the quack who thought Norman Bates needed to go back to the damn hotel and why the hell would it be good for him?  Its like chucking an alcoholic in the middle of a brewery and going “Believe me, you will be a better person for this…”

Anyway if you get over that insane bit of plot contrivance, we get a new group of rescue searchers who get trapped in the caves and confront the creatures.  Most of the new people you won’t remember except for the stereotypical cracker sheriff and the caring female deputy that helps Sarah out.  Everyone else is a whiny/dickish type meant to rack up a body count.

I will start by saying that Marshall is missed in this sequel and you see truly what a great job he did in the original.  I am not just talking about the characterization but also in the shooting of the whole movie.  The first movie had an intense sense of claustrophobia with the very dark caverns (illuminated by few lights) and very, VERY confined spaces.  This movie could almost have been a horror movie about people just trapped in a cave.   Adding in the creepy monsters just made it that much better.  In this movie though, the characters are nameless fodder, the cave is suddenly very well lit, and the spaces are much bigger.  Where the original felt like a real cave, in this movie, many of the scenes look like obvious sound stages.  I don’t mean to make this director sound horrible.  The movie still works and Harris does do a good job of setting up some great scenes.  But you really see what a difference Marshall made in the director’s chair.  Harris is good, Marshall was great.

I do also have to credit Harris for trying to spice up the action.  This is not just people being picked off one at a time.  There are some good action set pieces put in.  For example there is a scene where some of the group has to get away by using one of the people who died previously.  She died hanging by a rope from the ceiling and they use her as the rope.  There is another where two face off against a monster in a pit.  There are also some nice jump scares which are actually built up very well and not just some cat jumping out for a cheap scare.

I read a few reviews and they all seemed to share the common gripe it is an unnecessary sequel.  I suppose that’s true.  But then again, I guess you could say that for 95% of all horror movie sequels.  You do get more of the same (nothing really new added to the story) but for what its worth Descent Part 2 is surprisingly good for a quick sequel.  It still has a good amount of suspense and action to keep fans of the first interested.  I’m surprised I actually liked it more than I thought I would.


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