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September 14, 2010

Movie Review: The Descent: Part 2 (2009)

by Hollis Jay

To me, there has to be a good reason to have a sequel. Maybe there was a character that was particularly unexplored or good and we-as an audience-want to know more. Or maybe, a great story or a great script comes about to not only enhance the power of the first story but to make it an epic experience. But, I can guarantee that neither one of these things happened when The Descent Two movie was discussed and then made. Who knows what was talked about during those five minutes when script, story, and character were talked about-but I can be sure that smart horror was neither involved nor thought of in those fragile minutes.

Buy The Descent: Part 2 on DVD

Both Sarah Carter played by Shauna Macdonald and Junno Kaplan played by Natalie Mendoza, returned for this film. The money must have convinced them. At the end of the last film, we found Sarah driving away and then having a haunting vision of Junno who she left for dead. But any true horror fan knows that there were two versions of the ending of this movie. One, where Sarah injured Junno to get away and another where Sarah was already dead and her escape was only an illusion. This movie went with the idea that Sarah escaped with her life, but not with her sanity.

And to make matters worse, those who are there to help her-namely the police-send her down with the rescue crew so that her already tainted mind can continue to go crazy without any salvation in sight. This would never happen in real life, and although things happen continually in the movies that wouldn’t happen in real life-there is no sound reason for this to happen here. The rescue crew could have explored the cave and died without Sarah’s help all on their own.

The relationship between Junno and Sarah is also explored all over again. Yes, I get it. She cheated with your husband. Yes, I understand. I am supposed to “Love each day”-now, let’s just get on with it. Not many of the other relationships in the movie are even given a chance to evolve, except for the relationship between a mother and a daughter based on Sarah’s previous life. But, even this is forced and strained to work. We find ourselves wanting to like the characters that we have been force fed, but they don’t go down that easily and although we might cough and choke-no one even tries to hand us a glass of water.

I found myself looking towards the creatures themselves to hold the movie together since the plot was so ill conceived. My vote was for the creatures themselves to win and not for any of our heroes. I found myself especially lacking in emotion at the ending, as one of our characters run victoriously through the woods to freedom and is killed at the very end by one of the townspeople. Again, watch out for small towns and those who inhabit them. Plus, the idea that these creatures were perhaps being fed by the town and held as a secret was only written in so that we can look forward to the ridiculous onset of The Descent Three. I expect this to not come to theaters, but to be held only in previews for other flicks. Hopefully, you will not see this one either. But, if you do let me know and I’ll give it a watch. Rooting on the creatures to win throughout the entire film.

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