Jun 13, 2010

Posted in 2000s, DVD/Blue Ray, European Films, Films Categories, Flicks by Decades, Ray, Reviewers, UK

The Descent: Part 2 (2009)

The Descent: Part 2 (2009)

The sequel to The Descent is like a cover song: it makes you remember why you loved the original so much, but doesn’t do enough to make itself stand out.

Plot-wise, it goes the Aliens route: picking up shortly after the close of the first film, The Descent: Part 2 follows the search-and-rescue effort launched for the women whom we met in the The Descent.  Of course, they’re not having any luck until Sarah, the only one to escape the cave, stumbles out of the woods, half-crazed and unable to remember what happened to her, or why she’s covered in someone else’s blood.  A search of the area where she was found reveals another entrance to the cave, and despite her condition, the sheriff decides to bring her back down underground before it’s too late for her friends.  Of course, things don’t go very well.

Like a lot of sequels, The Descent: Part 2 never really makes itself stand out from the first.  That’s a particularly tall order for this movie, given how excellent the original is, and it’s not quite up to the task.  It’s not coincidental most of the movie’s strongest moments involve a callback to the first film, like finding the video camera, or discovering one of the bodies.  Even the ending is almost exactly the same as in the first movie.  And I don’t mean “Oh, only one person gets out alive but she’s all crazy now.”  I mean it happens in almost exactly the same way.  The sequel even sends up the famous “blood pool” scene with far funnier and much, much more disgusting.  But ultimately it suffers in comparison to its predecessor: the characters are less developed; a lot of the scenes with the crawlers have that shot-separately-and-assembled-in-editing feel to them, which makes it seem a bit low-budget; and the ending seems written more with establishing a place for sequels to go than with satisfactorily ending the movie.

One other area in which it falls down is the lighting.  Once we got into the cave, The Descent used only the lamps, lightsticks, and torches that the characters had on them.  It’s one of its greatest strengths, and here Part 2 seems to get away from it.  Certain scenes just seem too well-lit, and it’s to the film’s detriment.  I know it makes things easier to see, but they shouldn’t be easier to see.  These people are stuck in a cave, and there’s no light in there, so why is there light reflecting off of their equipment?  Look at this picture, and tell me where all that light is coming from.  This happens several times during the movie, and it pulls me out of it each time.

I wanted to like The Descent: Part 2 more, I really did.  Even though it didn’t need to be made, I was willing to give it a chance, in the hopes that I might love it like the original.  But outside of a couple of well-executed scenes, I just don’t see a whole lot here.  It’s by no means a bad movie, but it suffers from the inevitable decline that can be expected from following up such a great movie.

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Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes cast)
The Descent: Part 2 (2009), 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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