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Macdonald, Shauna (The Descent Part 2)

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In 2005 horror audiences worldwide were introduced to a terrorizing descent into the depths of madness with Neil Marshall’s modern horror masterpiece The Descent. The film followed a group of young women, led by Sarah (played by Shauna Macdonald), who are pushed to the brink as they get more than they bargained for during a cave-diving expedition that goes horribly wrong.

Dread Central recently had the opportunity to catch up with Macdonald in conjunction with the release of The Descent Part 2 (review here), now available on DVD, and spoke to the actress about what it felt like to step back into the shoes of Sarah and why she thinks The Descent stands out amongst its genre peers.

Originally there was an idea right after we finished the first Descent that we should do a sequel,” explained Macdonald, “but I thought that was a daft idea myself. I couldn’t see how it would even work. But here we are five years later, and we’re talking about the sequel so I guess that shows what I know.

With there being two different endings to the original Descent, I spoke to Macdonald about how that played into the sequel’s creative path.

Exclusive: Shauna Macdonald Talks The Descent Part 2

The rest of the world got the UK ending, and then, because of focus group testing, the US got a shortened ending. I sort of believe that maybe The Descent Part 2 probably won’t make much sense to UK audiences and audiences abroad, but hopefully we sort of toyed with the ending of the first in the beginning of this one enough so that it works for audiences everywhere,” Macdonald said.

With there being five years between both projects, I asked Macdonald if getting prepared to step back into such a physical role was at all daunting.

I started training for three months before we started shooting The Descent 2,” explained Macdonald. “I also did a lot of fight training beforehand, too, because I wanted to try and be a part of those sequences as much as possible. I didn’t really need to because my stunt person is this amazing woman, but I guess I wanted to push myself to see just how much I could do.

I guess maybe I should have let the stunt woman do more because I ended up getting a shiner from Natalie [Mendoza] during the fight we had. She really laid me out, even left me on the floor, but it was totally worth it. The movie was filmed chronologically so if you look closely later on, you can actually see it in some of the scenes,” Macdonald added.

With the two Descent films now under her belt, I spoke to the actress about what her thoughts are on why the franchise has such a loyal fanbase and why the first stands out as a landmark film of the last ten years of the horror genre. Macdonald said, “I think part of what made The Descent such an effective film was that it was such an unusual story. Neil really took his time developing those characters so fans become invested with the girls as their journey continues. You want to see them make it.”

“I also think that the movie has a psychological element that goes beyond just creatures in a cave. With The Descent Neil did a brilliant job of bringing together so many magical elements at the right time, and I think that’s why it still resonates. So much of what Neil did with the first film made it possible for us to come back for a sequel,” added Macdonald.

Now that The Descent Part 2 is finally out for fans to enjoy, I asked Macdonald if there are any plans for a third Descent and whether or not she feels her journey as Sarah is over.

Because I was surprised that they figured out a creative way to create a sequel, I’d never rule out another Descent film,” said Macdonald. “Sarah has been such a huge part of my 20s, I’d always return to tell her story. No one has officially said anything yet, but it wouldn’t really surprise me. We had a wonderful time making the sequel.

Heather Wixson

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2

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From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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