Neil Marshall may have handed over directorial duties to film-editor-turned-film-maker Jon Harris, but he maintains a presence as executive producer on this horror sequel to his 2005 subterranean horror. And as sequels go it doesn’t get much more immediate; The Descent: Part 2 carries on directly where the first film left off. So we see lone survivor Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) emerge, bloody and terrified, from the cave system which claimed the lives of her potholing friends. Unfortunately for her, however, she is unable to explain what happened, and so is forced to return to the dark depths with the rescue team. It’s only when they see for themselves the terrifying, hideously deformed cannibalistic Crawlers who lurk therein that the officials realise exactly what they are dealing with – but by then, of course, it’s far too late.
Whereas the original film was a taut, claustrophobic chiller its sequel is a blood-spattered gorefest that may disappoint some expecting more of the same. But this is by design a different experience; while the first film was building up to the unveiling of the creatures, here they have been revealed in all their grotesque glory and so the emphasis is on their murderous mayhem. And it’s brutal indeed; watching people torn limb from limb is shocking enough, but to shove the psychologically disturbed Sarah back into the hell from which she’s only just escaped gives a whole new edge to proceedings, even if it is a somewhat contrived premise. It may not be as meticulously crafted or as gritty as its predecessor, but nor is it as unflinchingly brutal and there’s enough edge of the seat shocks and grisly set-pieces – not to mention satisfying cross-overs from the original – to keep genre fans happy. 3 stars
There’s an excellent cast and director commentary, plus making of, deleted scenes with optional commentary from Harris, storyboards and production design gallery. 3 stars
Stars Shauna Macdonald, Joshua Dallas
Director Jon Harris
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released April 12