"A tale of two sequels: 'The Descent 2' vs. 'Cabin Fever 2.'" – Movie Review

I’m a frequent user of Netflix, but I have used the Redbox, and because I’ve used the Redbox I get a free rental every month or two. The free rental comes via text message. Yesterday was one of those free rental days. We had to go to the grocery store anyway, so we stopped by the Redbox machine only to fine pretty much nothing there. I had seen every movie I wanted to see on the first two screens. Redbox and Netflix both made agreements with a couple of the studios, so they don’t get the new releases right away; we have to wait a month, which kind of sucks.

I came across “The Descent 2.” I remember seeing the first one in the theaters and thinking that it was awesome. With a horror movie seeming to come out every other weekend, it’s a true rarity to see a good one let alone an amazing one. So I rented “The Descent 2,” because I was curious. However I forgot to put the free promo code in, so I actually paid for it. I still had my free rental and I came across “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.” Again I saw “Cabin Fever” in the theater and was very entertained. What an original idea and it was done as homage to early 80’s, late 70’s teenage horror films, but with an original idea, so I got that one for free.

“The Descent 2” –

What “The Descent” did so well is capture that true claustrophobic feeling. Six ladies go hiking in a cave, get trapped and come across a species that has never been heard of before, and only one makes it out alive. I was only a baby when the movie “Alien” came out, but I can only assume the audience’s reaction to “Alien” was similar to “The Descent.” So what about “The Descent 2?”

What “The Descent 2” does right is continue the story. It’s not just another group of hikers going hiking in the cave; it is a search party looking for the missing women. The most unrealistic part is the very beginning where the cop leading the rescue mission forces the lone survivor to head back in the cave, just two days after escaping. If you can get past that (and the crappy second ending) the movie was a solid sequel. It captured that claustrophobia that the original captured. If it was made on a lower budget you’d never be able to tell. It had every bit the scares that the original had. I’m kind of surprised that it didn’t get a theatrical run.

What both part 1 and 2 do well is not approach the story from the monster’s point of view. The monsters are creepy, but the less you see of them the creepier they are. What I disliked about the ending of part 2 is that it set it up for a part 3 to be told from the monster’s point of view, which would be a mistake if they do that. The unknown is so much scarier than the known.

“Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever” -

“Cabin Fever 2” has been completed for awhile just waiting to be released. Unlike “The Descent 2,” “Cabin Fever 2” is nowhere near as good as the first one. The first one introduced us to director Eli Roth (“Hostel”). It was fun, campy and disgusting. “Cabin Fever 2” was just stupid, but it was intentionally stupid, so I can’t dislike the movie because it tried to be dumb. It was so dumb that it was actually kind of entertaining.

“Cabin Fever 2” was told as if it were “Carrie” only with “Cabin Fever’s” plot. It was your mid 80’s high school prom horror movie. It wasn’t trying to be anything else, so I can appreciate it for that. I know that “Carrie” came out in 1976, but “Carrie” wasn’t campy like this. This had more of a mid eighties campiness to it with “Carrie’s” look.

In an effort not to oversell either movie, if you loved “The Descent” I think you’ll be entertained and enjoy part 2. If you were a fan of “Cabin Fever” or intentionally bad horror movies, then I think you’ll enjoy “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.” If you never see either movie you won’t be missing out on anything, but if you have a free Redbox rental it might be worth picking either one up.

BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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