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Who Was At The End Of The Descent Part 2?

Some horror hits age better than others, but "The Descent" is an inarguable example of a spook-fest that has actually, decisively stood the test of time. 16 years on, the archaeological trials of Sarah, Juno and co. remain every bit as perversely brilliant and terrifying as they did at the time of release, to the point where the movie has become known as one of the greatest of all time in its genre.

Where there is room for debate is on the subject of "The Descent: Part 2," and its merits or lack thereof. Many fans of the original film decry "Part 2" as an unnecessary and illogical attempt to stretch the story beyond its natural endpoint, but some see it as a worthy horror movie in its own right, with enough intensity and gory fun to satisfy viewers that go in — so to speak — with the right expectations.

Regardless of which camp you're in, you might have left "The Descent: Part 2" a bit confused if you didn't immediately recognize the man that appears at the end to knock Elen Rios (Krysten Cummings) unconscious. As it happens, the man's appearance reveals deeper, disturbing goings-on beneath the surface of the movie.

The old man at the end is Ed Oswald, who operates the mine shaft

At the end of "The Descent: Part 2," Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) screams loudly and draws the crawlers to her, thereby sacrificing herself to give Rios a chance to reach the exit of the cave. Rios is then able to slink her way out through a small opening and make a run for it in the woods, but before she's had a chance to find help, she's knocked unconscious with a shovel by an old man, who then drags her back to the entrance of the cave. The movie ends as a crawler leaps at Rios.

The old man in question is Ed Oswald (Michael J. Reynolds), who's in charge of the mine shaft and previously lowered Sarah, Rios, and the other spelunkers into the cave system at the beginning. Given that Ed is apparently intent on making sure Rios doesn't escape the crawlers, and even confused as to how she was able to exit the cave, the reality hinted at by this late appearance is bone-chilling: The reason he was assisting in the investigation and helping the characters enter the cave in the first place was that he wanted them to serve as prey for the crawlers.

It's unclear what Ed gets out of this service to the creatures. Maybe he's just keeping them fed so they won't cause him trouble, or maybe he's getting some kind of misguided revenge on the world after his grandfather was sent too deep into the cave by the "company bosses'" greed. Whatever the case, he makes a fitting antagonist for a franchise as much about flesh-eating monsters as it is about humans' mistrust of each other.