I loved Neil Marshall’s 2006 underground horror The Descent. I referred to it as one of the best horror films I’d ever seen in my review and I stand by that. However, I’m still yet to see the domestic version of Marshall’s original, which is one of the reasons the idea of a sequel picking up where the original left off may cause confusion for some as a character left for dead in the international release is back and must help the authorities find the rest of her friends, all of which are presumed dead.
In the original feature, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) and five of her friends began exploring an uncharted underground system of caves and Sarah was the only one to come out alive. Found bloodied on the road she’s taken to the hospital, questioned by authorities and when she is unable to provide any help the only assumed solution is to drag her back down into the caves to jog her memory. Of course, this is an absurd plot device and just one of the reasons this sequel doesn’t live up to the original all while trying to mimic its success.
If you have any idea what this franchise is about, you already know there are blind underground beasts that operate on sound and consider any living creature that comes into their domain as food. In the first film six girls where on the menu, in the second film it will be the search party looking for answers. In this sense, the sequel can’t duplicate the originality of the first film or the scares, making it a mild diversion, but hardly a must watch even though it does leave itself open for another film with a rather silly cliffhanger that basically turns what was a solid original film into a tired horror franchise.
The special features include an audio commentary with director Jon Harris and actors Shauna Macdonald, Krysten Cummings and Anna Skellern, a making-of featurette that actually isn’t too bad, a storyboard gallery and a group of deleted scenes.
Overall, this is a rental at best and if you are a fan of the original it’s just more of the same in terms of story, but less of what you enjoyed the first time around in terms of scares and the overall feeling it left you with. I expect they’ll make The Descent 3 simply due to the small budgets needed for horror films, but it looks like it’s just going to head down the gore route rather than focusing on story and character. Hell, this one has a scene in which Harris refers to the set piece as the “shit pit.” I’ll let your imagination run as to what that could entail, but I’m sure you won’t have to think too hard.
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