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MOVIE REVIEWS: THE DESCENT PART 2

The Descent Part 2

Rated R

Written by OBS Staff Member Rose

When it was finally released in the U.S in 2006, The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall, was one of the scariest movies to come out in quite some time. What made it so scary is the claustrophobic nature of the film, where five girls on a spelunking expedition get trapped below the earth with some horrifying mutated beasts.

The Descent had two endings. The first has the lead character Sarah, escaping the underground caves, while the other, which was the U.K. version, depicted Sarah daydreaming her entire escape.

The Descent 2 (2009), directed by Jon Harris, bypasses the U.K. ending entirely, and the film begins right where it’s predecessor left off. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) has escaped the Appalachian cave system and is now in the hospital. The local sheriff and deputies are hell bent on keeping a lid on the disappearances of Sarah and her friends, which includes, Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza), who happens to be a Senator’s daughter. So what do they do? Unbelievably, they are allowed to have Sarah discharged within hours of her being admitted to the hospital, so she can lead the deputies into the caves and help search for the other girls. Never mind the fact she has ‘amnesia’ and just went through a traumatic experience, your just suppose to suspend your belief system at this point. Maybe they bribed the doctor, who knows. But this is just a neat and tidy little way to show why on god’s green earth she would ever agree to going back down there with those creatures.

From here on out, it’s the same story all over again, but this time it’s Sarah, Sheriff Vaines (Gavan O’Herlihy) who is the most irrational Sheriff on the face of the earth, his deputy Elen Rios (Krysten Cummings), and three specialists – Dan (Douglas Hodge), Greg (Joshua Dallas) and Cath (Anna Skellern), that go back into the cave to find the missing women.

We do not bond with any of the characters like we did in the first film, the action goes straight to claustrophobia here we come. The team gets separated and the hunt begins. Sarah finally regains her memory and channels Ellen Ripley and is ready to kick some alien ass. Unfortunately Shauna Macdonald doesn’t get a chance to prove her acting chops (which we know she has), instead it gets diluted in gore.

There are many jump-worthy moments, bloody head bashing scenes, and an excruciating send off to one of the team members you’ll have see for yourself.

While the middle of the movie brings a few yawns due to it’s repetitiveness (you just know they will get picked off one by one), by the latter portion your sitting straight up once again and will be utterly taken back by the ending. Truly, if it weren’t for that ending, which both pissed me off and had me flabbergasted simultaneously, I would have dropped a star off the rating. I love the fact that they kept the shock factor instead of appeasing the audience.

In some ways you can say they left a big gapping hole of an explanation needed, which could lead to a Part 3, but I hope not. The Descent has ascended as far as it can go.

The Descent Part 2 does not deserve the same hype the first one earned, but it is definitely worth seeing.

Rating: 6.5/10 stars

Running Time: 94 minutes