The Descent 2 Review: The Best Pointless Sequel Ever Made
If ever there was a movie that didn’t need a sequel, it was The Descent.
An adrenalin-fuelled, subterannean shocker, the unique mix and double threat of environmental enemies and barbaric blind beasties cemented Neil Marshall’s arrival as the English director to watch (the less said about the creative fart that was Doomsday, the better).
Throw in a rather definitive, fitting ending to the first movie, and news that a sequel was in the pipeline – with some of the original cast to boot – sent shivers of the very wrong kind down the spine.
Yet studios are nothing if not sneaky when they need to be, and while the English version of The Descent ended with lead caver Sarah breaking free of the underground maze and legging it to safety, only for a fade out to reveal she had hallucinated the whole thing, the fuzzy-wuzzy, happy-clappy North American audiences couldn’t cope with that much of a downer, and the film ended simply with Sarah breaking free and legging it to safety.
Which is where, conveniently, the second movie picks up from.
Sarah has been picked up and taken to hospital, but as the only survivor from the group of six women that entered the caves two days earlier – and handily amnesiac with it – suspicions are raised by the redneck local cop. With search parties still intent on finding the missing girls, Sarah is sent back down into the caves, along with a small search and rescue team.
So, once the unbelievable, mindless and credulity-straining set-up is out of the way, has newbie director (and the first film’s editor) Jon Harris managed to respect or even better the original?
Well while it’s certainly no masterpiece, Harris does successfully manage to recapture the threatening feeling of both the claustrophobia and the deadly, wild fury of the crack-Gollums.
But for every cheer-worthy death (both human or monster), and successfully tense encounter, there’s simply – fittingly – not much room to manoeuvre within the ‘girls go caving, get trapped, find monster’ set-up provided.
As such, a number of scenes are almost straight copies of the original, and there’s a fine line between homage (which it, at times, it manages) and the nagging reminder that not only have we seen this all before, but its initial shock value meant it was inherently, naturally, better.
So, it’s certainly not the disaster many were expecting, and if you enjoyed the original you’ll find only more of the same here.
It’s just, as George Lucas has found out the hard way, for the sake of raping fond memories or destroying something once great, sometimes it’s best to just leave things be.
Can’t wait to see it in the cinema? Check out these clips of the movie…