May 26, 2010

In 2005, a relatively unknown horror film entitled The Descent hit U.S. shores. Of course that low key vibe that came with it might have been what made it so good, but never the less, The Descent was one of the horror films since 28 Days Later. It had an incredibly claustrophobic feel while maintaining a certain amount of shock factor that had (and still is) lacking in modern horror films. Enter 2009, where we get The Descent Part 2, a straight to DVD affair in the U.S. While at first look the lack of a theatrical release certainly would scare most viewers (and for good reason), but don’t judge it until you’ve tried it.

Hit the jump for my review of The Descent Part 2.

The Descent Part 2 opens only two days after the events of the first film. Our main character Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is found on the side of the road and is picked up by local law enforcement and questioned about the missing party of girls that went spelunking in the first film. In an attempt to keep things hush, Sheriff Vaines (Gavan O’Herlihy) and his deputy Elen Rios (Krysten Cummings).

The catch of the whole beginning plot though is that Sarah can’t remember the events of the first film, and the Sheriff and the search and rescue team want to try going down to the caves via a new entrance in an old barn. In hopes that maybe Sarah can help them, they take her down to the caves as well. Because hey, what can go wrong this time?

Of course if you’ve seen the first film then you know what’s going to happen now, and that’s a large part of the problem with the movie. There’s not a lot of new ground covered here. The cave monsters attack, there’s a lot of blood, and some pitiful attempts at emotional connections, nothing we hadn’t seen in the first film. But I guess I can’t really hit on that too hard, because what worked with the first film works here. The setting of a cave is certainly scary enough, but add in blind blood thirsty crawling creatures and you have some decent potential. Everything works just as well here in the second film.

However that formula is somewhat flawed in the second go around. I simply don’t care who’s in the cave, and that’s the reality of most horror films. The writers add Sarah back in the fold, but it took me nearly an hour into the movie to remember exactly who she was other than the only one who survived. Minor details in the first one will be lost unless you’ve seen the movie recently, and even then the characters aren’t color enough to be remembered.

While cave-killings were engaging for an hour and a half the first movie, this time around I grew bored by about the hour mark. We’re just getting more of the same, and that isn’t really enough to make anything interesting a second time around. Combine that with the run of the mill special features (an Audio Commentary with the director Jon Harris, and actors Shauna MacDonald, Krysten Cummings, and Anna Skellern, and a Making Of Feature) and you have something truly not worth buying on DVD. If it were to appear on Hulu… well. Maybe then it’d be worth it. Maybe.

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