Synopsis (from IMDb) : Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his house and find collection of VHS tapes. Viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be dark motives behind the student’s disappearance.
My Review: After a stretch of really bad movies, it seems I’m on a roll again. Following Resolution (go and watch it already!) yesterday, V/H/S 2 is another horror gem that I can only recommend (and a big improvement on the first movie).
I did enjoy the first V/H/S but it was also a flawed movie with some weak segments. V/H/S 2 only has one average segment IMO (the last one) but all the others range from good to great while featuring horror movie classic genres such as Ghosts, Demons, Zombies and Aliens.
It’s quite difficult to be original when doing found footage movies but this time all the directors put their own twist to it and it is refreshing.
We start with Clinical Trials, from Adam Wingard (V/H/S, You’re Next, ABCs of Death). The pitch is similar to the movie The Eye, where our main protagonist is starting to see ghosts right after an eye operation (he conveninently has a camera in his eye, allowing us to see the movie POV style). I did jump couple of times (when the ghosts appear) and the tension is good enough to sustain the whole duration of the short. I would compare Clinical Trials to an Asian Ghost Movie on speed. Highly satisfying beginning!!
The second segment, A Ride in The Park, from directors/writer Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash and Gregg Hale (Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly) is a take on the zombie genre. The twist is that the camera is on the zombie’s head (similar to Ben Wheatley’s segment in ABC’s of Death) so we have a few gory shots of him feeding on his victims. This is a fast paced short that will satisfy zombie and gore fans alike.
The third Segment, Safe Heaven, from directors Gareth Evans (The raid) and Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre, The ABCs of Death) is, by far, my favorite. It starts pretty slow with a team of journalists investigating a cult (with the help of hidden cameras on their bodies) but when the shit starts hitting the fan, I was almost jumping up and down out my seat from pure joy and adrenaline. The pace and action is reminiscent of The Raid and the weirdness and gore is on par with Macabre and the L segment from ABC’s of Death. With Safe Heaven, Gareth and Timo prove that teaming them up was a match made in heaven or in this case, hell.
The last segment, Alien Abduction Slumber Party, from writer/director Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun, The ABCs of Death), is the weakest of the bunch for me. I did not really care for the use of a dog as a tripod and, despite some neat sound effects, could not get emotionally attached to the story, the same way I was with Clinical Trials. As a result, all scares or sense of tension disappeared quickly.
The wrap around segment, Tape 49, written and directed by Simon Barrett did an OK job of transitioning us into each stories and had its moments at the end. An improvement over the wrap around segment of the first V/H/S but nothing to write home about.
V/H/S 2 belongs to the short list of horror sequels that are actually better than the original. I truly believe that the Found Footage genre is better served by short stories as shown here. It allows many different creative directors to test the medium and each stoy does not need to drag into overly long introductory segments that plague many of the found footage movies out there.
Now waiting for V/H/S 3. Bring it on!!
My Rating: 7.5/10