x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

More gore, less scare second time around

The follow-up to The Descent boosts the gore factor.

The Descent: Part 2 

Director: Jon Harris Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Krysten Cummings, Gavan O'Herlihy 

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Horror movies have exploited primal fear of the dark for decades, but Neil Marshall's 2005 film, The Descent, set a new precedent. 

It saw six thrill-seeking women embark on an expedition to explore an unmapped cave system below the Appalachian Mountains. But if finding themselves trapped under hundreds of metres of rock wasn't scary enough for the chicks with picks, the discovery that they were not alone - and that many of their number would not be returning to the surface alive - certainly was. But once you know what's lurking in the dark, the dark ceases to be as scary. 

With the cat now out of the bag (sorry, no spoilers), the very thing that made The Descent so original is its sequel's biggest obstacle to overcome. 

It's a dilemma that many horror filmmakers have come across and their solution is invariably the same: up the gore. Picking up just hours after the first film ended, it sees sole survivor Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) waking up in a hospital bed with only patchy memories of her ordeal. Suspected by the local sheriff (Gavan O'Herlihy) of causing her friends' disappearances, she is forced to return to the cave with him as part of a team searching for survivors. Unsurprisingly, the rescue operation quickly finds itself in need of rescue. 

The film features some of the most creative and unrelenting butchery seen in any recent horror, as well as elements of black comedy that escaped the previous movie. While it lacks the knockout punch of the original, and suffers from flat dialogue and weak characterisation, it's still an enjoyable thrill ride.