Friday, May 21, 2010

Ryan Watches a Motion Picture #31: The Descent 2 (2009)

The Descent has been my go-to horror recommendation for a long while now, and I was certain that I'd come away from the sequel, after learning that the director is different, with the sour taste of sequel in my mouth. I was pretty much right this time, but had one or two nice surprises.

So it's directed by the editor of the first movie and only produced by the original director, Neil Marshall. Descent 2 manages, then, to come off somewhat different in tone, but matches some small portion of the original feel alright. Descent 2 isn't as visually dark as the first, which is a shame. You're given clearer, bolder shots of the cave creatures that do look pretty good most of the time, but worked best, as always, when more was left to the imagination. The sets look a bit cheaper, and the actors care a bit less than before - most importantly, their relationships to each other aren't as interesting or well-plotted, which makes it much more difficult to invest yourself. The ending was an attempt at an OMIGOD moment like in the first, but it fails to make any impact. It probably would have been interesting if they had set up some kind of justification for it.

On the plus side, there's a twist I liked, though the dynamic that eventually sets up in light of it was on the dissatisfying side. It was fun, at least, to watch the new characters retrace the steps of the old characters, even going so far as to use a hanging body as a means to cross a deep chasm. Cool.

So: You're given a more barefaced version of the original, which is usual sequel territory. Worth watching for a couple of its elements.

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