I’m still pushing through my ever-growing stack of horror films, and for this batch I visited an 80s classic, a modern favorite and a dreaded direct-to-video sequel. Here are my mini-reviews for each of them:
Children of the Corn 
Children of the Corn has all the makings of a great horror film: evil children, Satanic cults, a creepy rural town, and to top it off, it’s based on a Stephen King short story. Throw in a young Linda Hamilton embarrassing herself, and this should be a fun ride, right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, the film suffers from a lack of suspense, and it never really gets as spooky as you might expect. Much of this likely lies in the fact that this is a short story stretched out to a 90 minute feature. It feels like a bit of a throwaway film, and it’s surprising that it is still so popular today (the ninth entry went direct to video last year). Still, it’s not a bad effort, just a somewhat disappointing one when considering its legacy. 6/10
The Descent 
When six girlfriends get together for a spelunking adventure in an unmarked cave deep in the Appalachian Mountains, it doesn’t take long for things to go horribly, horribly wrong. The Descent, a title that works in multiple ways, takes us deep into the pitch-black cave with these women; their headlamps and flares are the only lights used to show the impending atrocities. With the foreboding darkness and tight, narrow crevices inside the cave, there is always a powerful sense of claustrophobia. Those who struggle with confined spaces will have a hard time watching this film. Once the shit hits the fan, so to speak, The Descent takes a horrifying, bloody turn with some truly impressive gore. There’s something for everyone in this clever horror flick, and it’s easily one of the best I have seen from the last decade. 8/10, leaning up
The Descent: Part II 
This direct-to-video sequel follows a new group of people who head down in the cave in search of those missing from the original. With new writers and a new director, the film doesn’t follow the vision of Neil Marshall’s 2005 feature, and it greatly suffers as a result. There are far too many moments that stretch credibility beyond belief, and it pisses all over some of the events from the original. The sense of claustrophobia is kept to a minimum as well, as the characters seem to maneuver around more wide-open spaces, and the lighting is way too bright this time around. As a stand-alone film, it isn’t terrible (there’s plenty of gore and a few memorable moments), but watching it comes with the risk of lessening the original’s impact. 5/10
Have you guys seen any of these three films? What do you think of them?