Thursday, June 24, 2010

#1570: The Descent 2

 Let's be honest: There's no way to talk about The Descent Part 2 without spoilers, so please, beware.

I'm not Shawn, I'm Caitlin. I know it's all topsy-turvy to read Shawn's blog and get me, but he'll be back before you know it and you won't have to put up with me anymore. Shawn hatched a nefarious plan for us to watch the same movie, review it, and cross post on each other's blogs, so it's his evil genius plan, I must say.

Anyways, so The Descent Part 2 picks up pretty much where The Descent left off. (If you're considering watching Part 2, I'd highly recommend just watching Part 1 and Part 2 back to back.) Sarah, the apparent sole survivor of a caving trip gone horrifically wrong, is found and brought to the hospital, where she has no memory of her ordeal in the cave. Watching your friends get eaten alive by mutant cave monsters will do things to a person, so Sarah's mind is a little shaky.

The local sheriff (who really deserves an award for being an incredibly dumb asshole) forces Sarah to go back into the cave with him, his deputy and a group of cavers after he begins to suspect that Sarah had something to do with the murders. Sensitivity is not this man's strong point. After they head into the caves, Sarah's memory is jogged and escapes from the clutches of the sheriff. Remember how I said the sheriff was dumb? He fires a shot in the cave system, causing a cave-in. All hell breaks loose and the mutant cave dwellers come out to eat.

The Descent Part 2 isn't nearly as good at fleshing out all of the characters as The Descent was, but given that a few of these characters are grist for the mutant cave people mill, that's forgiveable. Part 2 retains the confusion and claustrophobia that made The Descent so terrifying in the first place, with some of these tunnels being so small you wonder how they got a camera in there. More than a few horror sequels fail miserably at adequately picking up on continuity but Part 2 does a solid job of maintaining that aspect.

Juno is still alive and fighting like a madwoman in the cave system, so that is a bit of a surprise in a way. The three final girls battle it out to exit the cave, where Juno bites it and Sarah makes the ultimate sacrifice to give the sheriff's deputy, a mother with a little girl, a chance to escape the mutants. Up until this point, The Descent Part 2 is a sequel that lives up to the original, a sequel that moves well in the construct of the first movie. After this point, The Descent Part 2 falls a couple of notches in my estimation, due to a bizarre ending involving an old man bashing the deputy in the face and dragging her to the hole to be consumed by the freakin' Morlocks.

There is no rational explanation for this, no sensible reason. Normally this sort of "gotcha!" moment is reserved for sequel setups, but there's something so random, so bizarre, an ending that's never telegraphed or made clear that it's ultimately confusing and leaves you ruminating on that instead of the good parts in the movie.

While I'm looking forward to seeing how they ultimately play this one out in the next movie (I understand from Shawn that The Descent Part 3 is in the works), if you have no knowledge that there will be another sequel, the ending is puzzling at best. This bit is really the only negative to The Descent Part 2, so if you can stomach the fact that the ending feels like it doesn't belong there, then The Descent Part 2 is equally worth invested time and a well-made follow-up to a great first movie.