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The Descent

Theatrical Poster (UK).
Directed by Jon Harris
Produced by Ivana Mackinnon
Christian Colson
Written by James Watkins
J. Blakeson
James McCarthy
Starring Shauna Macdonald
Natalie Mendoza
Music by David Julyan
Cinematography Sam McCurdy
Editing by Jon Harris
Distributed by Lionsgate
Warner Bros.
Pathe
Celador Films
Release date(s) United Kingdom
31 August, 2009
(Frightfest)
29 October, 2009
(Grimm Up North! Horror Film Festival)
2 December, 2009
(wide)
Running time 94 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $10,000,000+[1]
Gross revenue $5,500,000+
Preceded by The Descent
Followed by The Descent Part 3[2][3][4]

The Descent Part 2 is a claustrophobic British horror film, a sequel to the critically acclaimed 2005 horror film The Descent. Shot in London, the film was released in cinemas in the UK on 2 December, 2009 and is currently awaiting release in the US. The film was produced by Christian Colson and co-produced by Paul Ritchie with Neil Marshall, the producer and director of the original, as executive producer.

Contents

Plot

Two days after the events of the first film Sarah is washed away to safety with no memory of the events of the last time she was in the cave. She is taken to a hospital where it is revealed some of the blood on her matches that of Juno Kaplan. Sheriff Vaines demands that along with his deputy Elen Rios, Sarah and three specialists -Dan, Greg and Cath- must go back into the cave to find the missing women. A new entrance is found with the help of a sniffer dog. The team members are sent down via an old elevator operated by the old, mysterious Ed Oswald.

Whilst crawling through a narrow tunnel in the caves, Sarah has a flashback of what happened in the caves, and in a nervous panic, attacks Vaines, Greg and Elen and runs off deeper into the caves. Vaines pursues Sarah but eventually runs into a crawler and fires a shot at one. This causes part of the cave to collapse, separating Cath from the rest of the group. Elen, Dan and Greg arrive in a room full of bones where they find the video camera used by the women in the first film (mostly for its night vision feature, to help them find their way around). They watch the playback, which reveals the women were attacked by the cave-dwelling 'crawlers.' The three are attacked by a group of crawlers and separate.

Elen starts calling for help, alerting the crawlers to her location, but is stopped by Sarah, who warns Elen that the crawlers hunt via sound. The two then watch as a crawler attacks and kills Dan, ripping his throat open and dragging him away.

Cath later escapes and kills a crawler and runs into Greg, the two climbing away from a crawler and using their radio to divert the pursuing crawler away from them. Greg and Cath travel deeper into the cave and find Sam (from the first film) hanging lifelessly. They decide to try to use her to swing across the chasm, but are both attacked by crawlers. Greg falls below, throat bitten whilst tackling a female crawler, and although Cath makes it to the other side, she is attacked and killed once she gets there off-screen.

Elen and Sarah wander deeper into the cave, and kill another crawler before Elen reveals she has a daughter, which makes Sarah more determined to escape. Vaines is wandering around the cave and is about to be killed by a group of crawlers before he is saved by Juno, who is revealed to be alive and an expert in hunting the crawlers. Later, all four meet up again. Juno and Sarah immediately fight, but then they all decide it's best they work together to escape and survive. Juno leads them off into the feeding pit, which she claims is also the exit. Vaines handcuffs Sarah to him so she can't leave them to die like she did to Juno. As they progress, Vaines falls over a ledge, and Elen cuts off his hand to save Sarah from falling as well.

At the film's climax, Elen, Sarah and Juno reach the exit, but are blocked by a small group of crawlers. As they try to tip-toe around the crawlers, Juno is grabbed by a dying Greg. Juno screams in surprise, which gets the attention of four crawlers. Greg dies and the women are left to fight off the crawlers. The battle is tough, but Elen, Sarah and Juno kill a crawler each. After that, Sarah sees that Juno is losing the battle to a crawler larger than the others and strangles the crawler from behind. Tensing up, the crawler rips into Juno's stomach, mortally wounding her. She and Sarah finish it off before Juno dies in Sarah's arms. As Sarah mourns for her loss, Elen turns around to leave, but finds them surrounded by a large group of crawlers. Sarah, with nothing to lose, screams to draw attention to herself, allowing Elen to escape.

Elen reaches the outside and is about to call for help when she is attacked by Ed, who hits her with a shovel and drags her back to the entrance to be food for the crawlers. A bloodied crawler jumps out at Elen and the movie cuts to the credits.

Production

Due to the first film being a commercial and critical success, it was decided that a sequel would be produced. While Marshall wouldn't direct the film, he was assigned to oversee its production.[5]

Marshall received the first draft of the film in late July 2006, with no directors or cast in mind. He made it clear that intended to incorporate more of the feeling of claustrophobia like that of a particular scene in the previous film. Marshall tells Bloody-Disgusting.com about new ideas for the film, "The monsters they can deal with, and a bit of the claustrophobia, they can deal with, but the combination is definitely something we want to incorporate that into the sequel, by putting the monster and the girls in a really tight spot."[6]

When The Descent was released in 2006 in the United States, Lionsgate picked up the film as distributor and edited the last few minutes of the film, changing the ending. When Dreadcentral.com asked Marshall which of the film's two endings the sequel would be picking up after, he said that it wouldn't be known until he approved a script.[7]

Filming began in May 2008 at Ealing Studios in London. Ealing Studios was featured on BBC London in June 2008 going behind the scenes of the filming of 'Part 2'. In that broadcast it was confirmed that Shauna MacDonald would be returning to play her character Sarah. Most of the other original cast members are now also returning although most of them only in flashbacks and possible hallucinations. The film was shot on all three of the main stages at Ealing Studios[8] and some scenes were filmed on location at Bourne Woods near Farnham in southwest Surrey, England.

The film was filmed using elaborate sets, miniatures, and blue screen digital images. This was revealed on BBC London's behind the scenes look.

The production was designed by Simon Bowles who designed the original film, art directed by Mark Scruton. The sets were built by DRS Construction[9] and Armordillo[10].

The digital set extensions and all VFX were created by Swedish VFX company Filmgate[11].

Release

The film was originally set to be released in May 2009, but was delayed. It was released in France on October 14, Japan on November 7, Argentina on November 19.[12] It was released in UK cinemas on December 4, 2009[13].

The US release date for The Descent: Part 2 was announced by the Weinstein Company on February 12th, 2010 and is permanently set for 27th April 2010, as a straight to DVD release over Lionsgate.[14]

Box office

In France the film has proven successful reaching #5 and grossing $1,097,535[15] in its opening weekend. Total gross in France now stands at $2,438,834.[16]

However in the UK, the film did not reach expectation debuting at #9[17] making the first week domestic gross $313,739.[18] Total gross in the UK now stands at £662,279.[19]

Reception

The Descent: Part 2 garnered mixed reviews. Tim Robey of The Telegraph gave the film three stars out of five stating, 'though it stretches credulity...The last half-hour is a tense team scramble to get out, and stay out, but the best move in this above-par shocker is digging right back into the claustrophobic emotional traumas which made Part 1 so thrilling.'[20] Variety gave the film a mixed review stating "Treading closely in the steps of its predecessor in every sense, the sequel has less emotional nuance, shows more of the monsters and opts this time for a less interesting coed cast instead of the all-femme crew used so effectively in the original. Nevertheless, as popcorn entertainment, it delivers, and should satisfy fans on all platforms."[21]

On Rotten Tomatoes UK, the film has received a 50% rotten rating based on 24 reviews.[22] Digital Spy gave the film a negative review and awarded it with 2/5 stars.[23]

References

External links








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