FIRST TIME WAS THE CHARM, BUT THIS SEQUEL IS A GOOD FOLLOW-UP
Main Cast: Shauna Macdonald
Director: Jon Harris
I’ve been waiting years to see this movie, but considering how little I trust sequels, didn’t want to pay full price for it, and could never find a decently-priced used copy. I’d seen it included for a while in the 4-pack with the first two Cabin Fever movies and the original The Descent, but I resisted buying that, too, because, well, then I’d own Cabin Fever 2…
Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I broke down and bought the 4-pack. I didn’t pay a lot for it, though, and I did enjoy The Descent: Part 2, so I guess that makes this a worthwhile purchase.
Written and directed, NOT by original writer/director Neil Marshall, but this time by three different writers (James McCarthy, J Blakeson, and James Watkins) and directed by Jon Harris (editor on the first movie), The Descent: Part 2 picks up where the first one ended–as most really good sequels do, in my opinion. When the original crew never checked back in at the ranger station, or wherever it was they filed their trip, after two days, a rescue team is sent down after them. They don’t find them, though, because the team never went to the cave they were supposed to be exploring. Juno had told them they were going there, but she took them to a different, unexplored cave, intending to claim it for themselves and gain the fame that comes with such a thing.
Luckily, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald returns)–the only survivor of the first movie–has made it out of the cave and is found bloody and disoriented on the highway. After being taken to a hospital, the local sheriff has her brought along to help them search when one of the rescue dogs picks up the scent of one of the other women in Sarah’s party. Still confused and not fully remembering what happened to her down there, Sarah goes along.
Along for the trip are three rescue rangers and the local deputy. Sheriff Old and Fat is along, too, with Sarah in tow. Unfortunately, soon after working their way into a particularly tight passageway, some of Sarah’s memories come back and she freaks out and runs off. The sheriff goes after her and is surprised by one of the underground crawlers, fires his gun, with sets off a cave-in, and the groups are separated.
And this is where The Descent: Part 2 kicks into gear.
Unfortunately, it also offers nothing new that the original movie didn’t. The crawlers attack, characters die, lather, rinse, repeat.
So what makes this movie enjoyable? Well, more of the same isn’t a terrible thing when that “same” was good the first time around. No, the trio of writers and Harris aren’t going anything Marshall didn’t do just as well on his own the first time, but there was so much potential for a lot of wrong turns with this movie, I’m satisfied with same old same old. If it keeps us from realizing any of the terrible choices that COULD have been made instead? Yep, I’m cool.
My only real big problem with this one was the ending. Since part 2 picks up right after part 1, effectively making this one 3 hour movie, you’d think the end would have more of an impact. As it is, without giving any spoilers, when the movie ends there is absolutely no shift in the status quo of this world. The movie begins, the movie ends, and the world spins on as if nothing has happened. There has to be SOME kind of consequence here.
But that’s my only issue.
Otherwise, more of the same and I’m in.
The acting bugged me more this time than in the previous movie because, remember, this is set in the Appalachian Mountains, in the US, but I could only find ONE American actor in the whole crew here–Josh Dallas–who was playing an American. The rest were Irish, British, and Australian. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it just seemed awfully strange to me that so many foreign people would find themselves living in and around the Appalachian Mountains at the same time (only Irish actor Gavan O’Herlihy as the sheriff bothered to use an American accent). Krysten Cumming’s character, Deputy Ellen Rios, is said to have moved to the area from New York, but I’ve heard enough British accents to know she’s NOT from New York. As for Douglas Hodge as Dan and Anna Skellern as Cath (a Brit and an Australian, respectively), these two just happened to wind up as rescue workers in the backwoods of America?
More like this was a British horror movie set in the US that didn’t want to bother using American actors. So why set it in the US? I didn’t understand that about the first movie, either, but Natalie Mendoza’s Juno character sounded American–and it turns out Juno is the daughter of a famous local politician–so it made sense eventually. But this time, man, that’s a lot of foreigners who just happen to live in the Appalachian Mountains at the same time…
Then again, maybe that’s something that only I would notice. It’s possible, I guess. And it’s not like it ruined the movie for me. I still enjoyed it a great deal.
I AM glad I didn’t pay more than what I did for it, but I’m satisfied that I finally got to see it. Money well spent. And if you’re going to watch the original Descent–which I think you should definitely do–you might as well watch the sequel, as well, right?