Descent (2005)

(On DVD, May 2006) They say that imitation is the best flattery, but the producers of The Core can enjoy at least one other benefit from the dull made-for-TV train wreck that is Descent: It will actually make people say ‘You know, The Core wasn’t actually all that bad!’ You can count the similar plot points between the two films and run out of fingers: a government project that goes wrong; the ridiculous “demonstration” of the problem; a machine designed to burrow underground; the necessity to set up bombs deep under the surface; the heroic sacrifice; the underwater finale… and so on. If Descent is not without a few decent moments (the banter between the post-doc students is amusing, Mimi Kuzyk looks scrumptious and Luke Perry at least tries to do a good job as the hero), all those moments serve to do is highlight how much better The Core was in actually delivering on its shaky premise. Here, the catastrophe looks cheap and tedious, barely shaking up Seattle and deep-frying a hockey-loving farmer. Low budget film-making is usually an exercise in compromise, but believe me: I could have tolerated even fewer death and destruction in exchange for better dialogue and clever plot twists. If the script can’t be bothered to care, then neither will I.

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