Sunday, July 04, 2010
The Descent was one of the best and most original horror films of recent years. Superbly written and directed by Neil Marshall after his success with werewolf-fest Dog Soldiers, it took a group of female spelunkers into some caves and pitted them against each other, as well as an army of underground monsters. The film was notable for its ending which, depending on which version you saw, allowed the main female protagonist to escape, or otherwise. Now we have 'Part Two', which is another way of saying that we're returning to the same well (or cave) for more underground shennanigans with monsters. This time Neil Marshall has had little to do with it - despite the Exec Producer credit - and it is all but a retread of the first film. The lone survivor has been taken to hospital where she is asked about her friends by a couple of police officers. Rescue workers have found an abandoned mineshaft down into the caves, and so they decide to take the silent, traumatised girl with them! This is really a leap to far. There is no way that anyone would allow her to undergo this in her condition, but assuming we accept that, the two police officers and a handful of caving experts descend into the darkness once more in order to find the other girls. Of course they get lost, trapped by a rockfall and are once again prey to the bat-like human nightcrawlers which live down there. The film succeeds despite itself but only because the premise of the original is strong enough to take a remake. One by one the humans are slaughtered again, and have to crawl through horrifically tight spaces and underground rivers to survive. Once again the girls are pitted against each other. Once again the crawlers attack and are beaten off. Once again you have to stay silent to survive. If you are claustrophobic, then you won't like this film any more than the first one - it's nightmarish from that angle. But there are plenty of shock moments, gore as the crawlers are despatched, and surprises along the way. It's not quite as good as the original, but it's not a bad sequel as sequels go. It's main failing is that it really doesn't try and do anything new with the material.