WHEN NEIL Marshall proposed a horror film in which carnivorous troglodytes molest a group of female cavers, you imagine his financiers might have felt somewhat doubtful about the idea. Won’t you end up with a murky, muddy mess featuring unintelligible action sequences and characters who are impossible to tell apart?
As it happened, The Descent, brutal and creepy, turned out to be one of the best horror films of the decade. We had to wait for the sequel for a murky, muddy mess featuring . . . Well, you know where this is going.
Reviewing The Descent Part 2 – Ooo, get them, with their posh sub-Godfather “Part 2” – is akin to reviewing a coma. You begin in daylight. Some sort of trauma attacks the system and you find yourself suspended in uneventful darkness for an uncertain length of time, before being dragged back into warm, welcoming daylight. Only God (and, here, the director) knows what happens in the interim.
It is clear that the picture follows Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) as she accompanies the authorities back into the cave system to locate the rest of the group. A rockslide rapidly blocks their exit and the hairless beasties begin planning their next meal.
In The Descent, Marshall took a set the size of a suburban basement and, by shooting from a variety of angles, made it seem like a speleological continent. In Part 2, Jon Harris, hitherto an editor, takes a set the size of a basement and, by doing bugger all with the camera, makes it seem like a speleological broom cupboard.
To be fair, the creatures remain quite scary and there’s enough ripped flesh to satisfy most genre enthusiasts. But the film must stand as a major disappointment.
Oh, well. The conspicuously inconclusive ending suggests that, box-office returns obliging, we should be in for a Part 3. Everything will work out fine.
The third parts of horror franchises are always great. Aren’t they?
Krysten Cumming and Shauna Macdonald in The Descent Part 2