Go­ing down

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

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

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