Anyone who loves horror movies probably loves a storied franchise, or two. Sometimes the sequels bring just as much to the table as the original. Think of films like Aliens, Evil Dead 2, and Demons 2. Unfortunately, there are just as many busts where someone saw dollar signs instead of an actual movie. The biggest example of this “cashing in” trend I can think of has to have been Exorcist 2. The first film was so successful executives saw an easy opportunity to ride its coat tails all the way to the bank. Let’s face it, Exorcist 2 has to be one of the worst sequels, and films, out there.
Which brings me to the Descent 2. While I was happy there was a sequel, I was skeptical after seeing so many negative reviews. I normally don’t pay much attention to reviews, but after my nineteen year old nephew told me not to waste my time on this movie, I knew it had to be bad. Instead of buying it on DVD, I waited for it to come on DirecTV. This past weekend, I finally found it! I set my DVR and recorded it. This is one of those times where I should have listened to my gut and not bothered with Descent 2 at all.
Did the success of the first film hurt the sequel? Yes. Viewers expected something similar–if not the same quality, something in the same ball park. What we get is a film that feels disjointed and inconsistent with the story, special effects, and overall quality of the first film.
Dazed, bloodied and speechless with trauma, Sarah Carter emerges alone from the Appalachian cave system where the events of The Descent took place. Local sheriff Redmond Vaines forces her back underground to help the rescue team which is desperately searching for her five missing girlfriends. As the team moves deeper into the caves, Sarah’s flashes of fractured memory intensify and she begins to realize the full horror of the would-be rescue mission. Only Sarah knows the terror which lurks in the shadows of the caves. But they are about to encounter a new tribe of crawlers – inbred, deformed and even more viciously feral than those Sarah faced before.
The film begins with Sarah being rescued and taken to the hospital by an elderly local. Apparently a team of climbers has been searching for the missing women in the cave system where they were supposed to be climbing. The Sheriff gets word of Sarah and keeps the news to himself so he can get to the bottom of what’s going on. The Sheriff and his deputy question Sarah who can’t remember due to all the trauma (at least that’s the way the film maker presents it). For some unknown reason, the Sheriff is suspicious and treats Sarah like a criminal the entire movie. Forget the fact that she’s found wandering hysterically through the woods covered in blood. Remember the blood pit from the first movie? Well, they get a blood sample from her clothes and come back with a match to Juno’s blood type. Wait, what? Yes, Sarah was COVERED in who knows how many different sources of blood and somehow the lab work came back with Juno’s blood. How convenient.
After they discover Sarah and her friends were in a different cave system, the Sheriff doesn’t call off the search of the other cave system. Why? Apparently, he wants to be extra sure. Not only that, but he drags Sarah back underground so she can show them where to go. They had to uncuff her from the hospital bed first though. You know, because apparently she was under suspicion all along. Yet they give her new climbing clothes and equipment, and force her back down into the “undiscovered” cave system…again. Seriously, this whole plot is thin at best.
And about that “undiscovered” cave system, apparently, that elderly local knows right where it is. An old, and abandoned, mine cut into it some years ago. How fortuitous! Our group of rescuers descend on the old mine elevator because the one hundred year old equipment still works. Again, how convenient.
I’m not going to go into much more as I don’t want to completely spoil the movie. I will say that the plot is riddled with holes, the set actually looks like a set in this one, and not much makes sense. There’s even a part where two characters jump into a pit of creature waste…it’s a giant toilet. Yeah, I’m not making this stuff up.
It’s unfortunate when movie studios take something fans love and rip our hearts out with a poor attempt at a sequel. And that’s all the Descent 2 really is, a poor attempt at being like it’s predecessor. If you love the Descent, skip the sequel and bask in the blood stained glory of the original. As for me, I’m going to pretend Descent 2 doesn’t exist. I’m giving Descent 2 one out of five stars.