Movies From the Black Lagoon: The Descent Part Two

Movies From the Black Lagoon
The Descent Part Two - 2009, Rated R
By Tom Doty

Fans of the first film will be able to dive right in here but newbies should finish this paragraph for a recap of the horrors in the first film. It focused on a hearty group of women who vacation together ever year. They explore caves in Appalachia and find themselves on the menu for a race of cannibalistic humanoids that are blind but no less deadly as they slither about through the catacombs they call home. The film managed a hat trick and delivered on the horror as well as the drama and actually served up characters you could care about-until they got eaten.
Part two picks up with the lone survivor of part one, Sarah, making it to freedom. This is good news for the rescue party that's assembled to find her friends. Unfortunately Sarah has lost her memory (probably a blessing) and that is how the screenwriters manage to get her back down in the ground.
Their group is led by three rescue guides and comes equipped with a Sheriff character who makes us Americans looks bad by being a pompous windbag with a gun fetish. You just know he's going to fire that sidearm the first chance he gets despite a stern warning that discharging a weapon could bring rocks down on all of them. Sure enough he does just that at the first sight of the underground dwellers and everyone else scatters like they missed that bit about never splitting up in a horror movie.
This is a retread of the first film and that's a shame, as the audience already knows whets going on for the first 45 minutes and has to wait for this film's cast to catch on. Eventually Sarah remembers what happened but by that time the underground ghouls are all over her party - too bad because the chance to do a great scene where she remembers what happened in the tunnels is botched. Imagine waking up from your worst nightmare to find yourself smack dab in the middle of it and you'll get what I mean.
Sequels sometimes provide more information and this one does a fine job of showing us how these critters survive Personally I could have done without the scene where we see how they relieve themselves but Interested viewers will c-get the answer to that question.
This one does save a few surprises for the last half hour and one is a whopper. Turns out that one other character from the first survived too and she's ready to kill Sara for leaving her behind. They also ratchet up the gore factor and even let one character dispatch a goon with his portable drill. There is also an excellent finale that involves three women taking on a room full of monsters with nothing but their hunting equipment. Lots of fluids splatter the screen in the ensuing battle that only one-person will walk away from-but how far will she get?
This is pretty good for a sequel that couldn't possibly live up to the original. The character stuff just isn't there though the action scenes are pretty well done. The film gets points for restoring the original film's downer ending that was used in its European release.
Best Line: "Judging by her finger nails, she's taken some big chunks out of somebody."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.