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[REC] 2 is Decent, DESCENT:PART 2 is a Wreck!

March 21st, 2010 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

You’re courting heartbreak when your expectation for a movie sequel is for it to hit the nail on the head in the same manor as the original. It’s almost a built in impossibility, if it were easy to capture lightning in a jar, the films they were sequel-izing wouldn’t have been so special in the first place. Two of the last decades strongest, most competent horror flicks [REC] and THE DESCENT have sprouted highly anticipated continuations. Both take off just where their predecessor landed, both expose a startling development (the same development actually) and both falter in capitalizing on that development’s full potential. I can’t say either film is without entertainment value, they both keep your attention and deliver at least a few good gotcha moments, but (don’t kill the messenger!) these two comrades in the art of diminishing returns are likely to leave fans longing for their original’s sting. In my opinion, [REC] 2 fares better than THE DESCENT: PART 2 due to that fact that even though it sometimes feels like a diluted shadow of its former self, it’s at least never outright boneheaded.

Directors JUAME BALAGUERO and PACO PLAZA who delivered the first [REC] are no slouches; they know exactly what they’re doing and exactly how to make you squirm. In this installment we follow a SWAT team and a priest who have entered the infested, quarantined apartment building from the first film. As this is our second venture into the address, we’re admittedly signing up to learn more. Unfortunately a lot of the first film’s strength was derived from our confusion, we’re braced this time and have an inkling of what to expect. The original [REC] only implied an evasive supernatural cause to the horror but now those muddied waters clear. I can’t say that [REC] 2 isn’t riveting and frenetic but with its leaning more toward action oriented tropes and its more focused view of the situation, it kind of looses the peaking through a keyhole into hell aspect that packed the original’s cinder block fist.

We end up with a sort of well oiled, modern retelling of LAMBERTO BAVA’s DEMONS 2, which is not a bad thing at all, just don’t expect to pee your pants. I don’t know, maybe this film’s biggest crime is just being second in the series. The bottom line is, the first [REC] haunted the hell out of me where this sequel works merely as a reasonably thrilling jaunt. Maybe I should be thankful.

So what’s THE DESCENT: PART 2’s excuse? The filmmakers were able to bring back SHAUNA MACDONALD who was so good in the first movie, they were able to impressively duplicate the look of that film from its rolling forests to its claustrophobic caverns and yet nobody thought it might be a good idea to double check the script? I just want to grab a big red pen and cross out most of what is done here story wise. Somehow I was able to FORCE myself to swallow the set-up, which involves the police dragging a heavily medicated trauma patient from her hospital bed and back to the location of her ordeal, I felt I owed the first movie that much. Little did I know that was merely the idiot appetizer of a four-course moron meal and a dumb as dirt dessert.

I don’t want to spoil anything, this movie needs all the help it can get but if you’ve seen it already, can I just say that the sloppy, obvious bit with the handcuffs infuriated me? What a ridiculously blaring set up for a lazy, not worth it pay off. Truly, I’m insulted. There’s a lagging, lackluster effort to conceive an emotional aerial view martyr death finale (ala ALIEN 3) but I felt so mishandled by that point that it came off like an awkward pass from someone who should just go to bed. Ugh and ugh and furthermore, UGH!!!

O.K. I admit, I jumped a couple times but I expected more for this series. I feel like I just married off my favorite daughter to the most feeble-minded dolt in town. Worse still is the epilogue, which I can only describe as a cinematic Dirty Sanchez.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t see these two films, REC 2 is pretty good, it’s just not possessed by Satan himself like the first one was and THE DESCENT 2 is kind of fun in a ditzy straight to DVD piece of utter crap sort of way. Just keep your expectations low (in DESCENT 2’s case VERY low, as in place the limbo pole on the floor) and remember your Unk warned you. Meanwhile, I’ll still be wondering why the female mole person in THE DESCENT: PART 2 (or “crawler”, who really cares anymore?) has long hair. Seriously, I’m surprised they didn’t put a little red bow in it.

Tags: Trauma Au Courant

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jaakkoNo Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I dunno, I enjoyed Descent 2 much more than I thought I would. The ending sucked, otherwise I’m not complaining. And the epilogue… what was that all about? Didn’t see it coming, though, that’s always a plus.

  • 2 darkcrash17No Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I wish they hadn’t done a sequel to The Descent.  That was such a great movie.  Why bother with another?

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I generally welcome sequels with open arms but these two…

    I think the main problem is that they both push aside the psychological horror in favor of more action. (not that you can’t have both…ALIENS did)
    It works O.K  and makes sense in the case of [rec]2 but Descent 2 really falters.  
    I also think that in both cases they did themselves a disservice by continuing the story right where the first one left off
    This is a great idea if you can expand upon the first film’s terrain (cold prey 2 is a good example) but if you’re literally covering the same ground as before it feels kind of repetitive and limited.
    Decent 2 really pissed me off because I think they short changed and lobotomized a viable character. (or two!)
    On the plus side neither of these films ever bored me
    I just wish [REC]2 could have held on to some more of the original’s mystique 
    and I wish DESCENT 2 valued it’s characters intelligence a bit more…
    really, that handcuff thing made no sense!!!
    the cop had seen the mole people at that point, why was he still blaming Sarah?
    why would he want to be handcuffed to anybody while they were escaping the cave?
    I hate that handcuff part really bad for some reason.

  • 4 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Well, I have not seen either sequel, but both originals were pretty good.  That is, most of [Rec] was pretty good but the last 10 or so minutes were absolutely incredible.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Chuckles, Yes! That was the part that scared the hell out of me…I had the image of that Egon Schiele nightmare creature burned into my head for days. Do see part 2, you get a dose of that but it’s just not as strong. What could be?

  • 6 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    WHY?  WHY was a sequel done for “The Descent”?!?  The first movie was one of my all time favorite horror films of the 2000’s.  I even got that “Skull” poster framed and hanging on my wall!  Seeing what’s been said I had a feeling the sequel would be a disapointment.  I still have it on pre-order @ Amazon.   BTW, there was a female “Crawler” in the first movie. 

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm


    I’m fascinated by this female crawler. I had a suspicion that there was one in the first movie but I couldn’t find a reference to it. I’m just wondering why she has long hair. Female humans have long hair because it’s a cultural thing. men cut their hair and that’s why it’s short. left alone it should grow as long as a female’s. So, if the lady crawlers can grow long hair why can’t the men? 
    I think it makes sense that the male crawlers are bald because they are underground and they’ve probably evolved to the point where they don’t need hair. So why does the lady crawler have long hair? To be pretty?
    it sort of reminds me of putting a wig on an actor and making him play his sister or that Daisy duck is just Donald with a bow on his head.
    or how all the apes in Tim Burton’s planet of the apes have ape fur except Helena Bonham Carter who has a bob. 
    I don’t need a wig on a crawler to tell me she’s a girl… she has breasts.
     if she has long hair on her head should she not have hair on her legs?
    I guess what I’m saying is that I think all of  the crawlers should just be hairless.
    oh well,
    I think a sequel could have worked for the Descent if they spent a little more time on in it.
    but yea, they should have just left it alone if this was all they could come up with
    and I guess if The Exorcist can survive The Heretic, Descent can survive this.

  • 8 PinchyNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Descent 2 was so disappointing it actually made me angry. I can only imagine how Neil Marshall felt.

  • 9 TrademarcNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Pinchy, Neil Marshall was actively involved with the sequel and was the one who approved the screenplay.
    I wholeheartedly agree with uncle Lancifer’s review. I enjoyed some of the visuals in The Descent 2 (gotta love those Shining-esque helicopter shots) but in my book, Sarah never got out of the cave in the first place. Rec 2 was pretty decent but also suffers from “the rules have been set and we know what’s coming”.

  • 10 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I can’t believe anyone would OK that D2 script…

    At the very beginning there is a scene where the Sheriff is yelling about how mad he is that Sarah is drugged unconscious and then he walks into her room and she’s talking fine.
    In the first one we get the idea that the caves are unexplored and now suddenly there is an elevator that leads you right to them…
    I’d like to think if I fell into a pool of feces and urine that I’d be able to identify it as such without picking up a piece of crap in my hand and saying “what is this stuff?”
    If you saw a rock bridge about to break with one person walking over it, would you try to go across it with two people?
    worst of all
    (spoiler) why bring back Juno just to kill her two seconds later. It’s hard enough to explain how she could still be alive or why she knows where the exit is and has not used it. Why wreck so much credibility for a character you’re not going to do anything with?

  • 11 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Unkle Lancifer

    (Spoiler from first movie)

    The female Crawler was in the scene where Sarah fell in the pit of blood.   She sniffed her dead mate, I guess, that Sarah just killed then she and Sarah got in a scrap.

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