THE DESCENT: PART 2 (2009)
Rescuers have been searching for two days for the six spelunkers that never returned from a charted course into Boreham caves when Sarah, the lone survivor of the relentless attacks of the cave's blind inhabitants, is found in a completely separate area of the county. Sarah can't recall what happened during her time in the caves, nor what happened to her friends, and the local sheriff, along with members of the search team, bring Sarah back into the caves in hopes of rekindling her memory and hoping to find the rest of the missing women. What they find however, is one wave after another of the cave's crawling residents, who once again take to turning the unwelcome visitors into their next meal. Sarah, whose mind has snapped back into place, shifts right back into survival mode. But will her knowledge of her attackers be enough to save the group or are the destined never to reascend to the surface?
Picking up right after the end of the original DESCENT, the next chapter is an almost a text book example of a film that suffers from sequelitis with more guts and gore, more chases, and more jump scares at the expense of less character development and a less engaging story. Director Jon Harris does an excellent job of imitating the style and pace of Neil Marshall, who has reduced himself to executive producer for this entry. Harris plays with the claustrophobic elements of the caves and frantic desperation of the first film almost pitch perfect, as he pours one scene after the next on the viewers trying to bigger and better with every turn of the corner.
Shauna MacDonald, who returns to her role as Sarah, also does a pretty good imitation of her character from the first time around. There is not enough time given to recapture that emotional connection that was established in the first, but it is still quite enjoyable watching her dispatching one crawler after the next with whatever is handy at the moment. The rest of the characters are even less worthy of becoming emotionally attached to, and therein lies the main problem with the sequel. Now that you know what is in the caves, the entire cast can be seen as little more than a buffet being marched into the darkness, rather than characters to connect and feel for.
But with the loss of character investment comes the acquisition of far more gruesome kills and attacks than the first one. There seems to be a never-ending horde of crawlers in the sequel, and for every one that is killed via spikes, drills, bare hands and hair pins with copious amounts of blood pouring everywhere, two more appear from the cave's recesses to take their place. The crawler's attacks have also increased in voracity, whether it is tearing out great chunk's of their victim's necks or clawing through them, with equal amounts of spewing blood.
With several visits to set pieces and the leftover carnage of the original, repeating motifs and shots laid out in the original, and return visits from the original's cast in one form or another, this movie definitely earns its "PART 2" in spades. However, there is still just enough originality sprinkled into this competently made sequel to make this venture worth taking.