Sunday, October 13, 2013

Movie Review: V/H/S 2 (2013)

V/H/S 2
V/H/S 2 - Poster Image

In this sequel to last year's cult hit, we get another group of directors taking their stab at the found footage motif. This time the whole project has gone on a diet, trimming down the running time to a lean 90 minutes or so; but is leaner always meaner?

As with every anthology film, there are ups-and-downs, hills and valleys. We start off with a low in the form of "Tape 49", the wraparound story directed by Simon Barrett that revolves around a pair of sleazy private detectives whose search for a missing boy leads them to view the four VHS tapes that contain the individual segments of the movie. It's basically a rehash of the wraparound from part one, just starring different people. It brings absolutely nothing new to the table, and doesn't even make a whole lot of sense.

Phase I Clinical Trials directed by Adam Wingard
A man with an experimental ocular implant (complete with camera) begins to see spirits. It had a good premise and some solidly spooky moments, and the addition of a woman with a cochlear implant who could hear spirits was pretty clever, but it didn't pay off as well as I was hoping. Basically a high tech version of The Eye, and not as novel as some seemed to think, but still a decent opening to the whole shebang.

A Ride In The Park directed by Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sanchez
This story is captured on the helmet-cam of a bicyclist who finds himself first the victim of, and then a participant in, a zombie uprising. I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did--a zombie film from the POV of a zombie seems brilliant--but the endless wet undead snufflings became extremely tedious and I had to fight the urge to mute the whole damn thing. Plus, zombies have no personalities and having no personality can quickly escalate to no plot. This was just shuffling, moaning and flesh eating from a new perspective. Easily my least-favorite of all the actual segments.

V/H/S 2 - A Ride in the Park

Safe Haven directed by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto
A group of reporters receive inside access to a religious cult whose prophetic ramblings turn out to be less about getting to heaven and more about bringing hell to them. This was the best of the entries, featuring one-thousand-and-one batshit crazy elements...even if I didn't always fully grasp what was happening. Of all of the shorts, this is the one that could be easily expanded into a feature film.

V/H/S 2 - Safe Haven

Slumber Party Alien Abduction directed by Eisener
The title pretty much tells you what to expect--though one would assume there were more teenage girls involved. A bunch of horribly obnoxious youngsters play horribly obnoxious pranks on each other while some creepy stuff happens, first in the background and then on the forefront. If I had any reason to not root for the eternal silencing of these pups, then I might have enjoyed this one more than I did.

Overall, it was an uneven experience that left me rather disappointed. The first one wasn't perfect, but I hoped that the filmmakers would have learned from their mistakes for part two. In some instances they did...but merely replaced them with new ones.

Oh well. Surely the third time will be the charm, and if not, at least we should have enough decent segments to fan edit a really good film from.

Rated R
96 Minutes


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