People are still using video cameras? What about phone cameras?
Two private investigators break into his abandoned house, in search of a student who has apparently been declared “missing” by his mommy. The investigators get in the house, find out that it’s pretty creepy, but also find a stack of video-tapes that seem to have already been viewed or are just waiting to be. What these two see on these tapes is pretty fucked-up, but what’s more fucked-up is that half of the people taking this videos can’t help but put the camera down! Not even for a single second while all sorts of crazy shite is happening all around them!
I may have been in the minority with what I said about V/H/S, but I still stand by it to this day: I had a great time with the movie! Much like other anthology flicks, some pieces of the pie are better than others, but overall, it was a nice way to get me hyped-up about the found-footage genre once again, and also add some needed love and attention to it. Like I said, wasn’t perfect but sure as hell had it’s moments that made it worth it a watch, even while I sat in front of the television, hands in front of my eyes.
That’s why when I heard they were doing a second one that was not only going to be shorter, featuring less segments, and also so soon, I will admit that I got a tad bit scared, thinking that it’s one of those sequels trying too hard to cash in on the original. But thankfully, to my surprise, V/H/S 2 is just as fun as the original, however, still shows some faults that are more clearer to me now, because I know exactly what I’m going to get myself into with this one and I have the general idea of what to expect. Once again, like I did with the first, the best way to review this would be to focus on each and every segment as if they were their own thang because they actually are, they just so happen to be short and placed in the same movie. Not something a little YouTube search couldn’t fix.
Anyway, back to each, individual segment:
1. As our wrap-around story, we have Tape 49, that’s directed by Simon Barrett and is about the two private investigators hanging out in this obviously abandoned house, but yet, still get caught up in the eeriness of the place, as well as the tapes they find. Like with the first one, this one’s probably the weakest link of the whole movie, and not just because it continues to start-and-stop to let the other segments show up and work their magic, but because it just doesn’t make much sense and once it ends, you’re sort of left with the feeling as to “why?” I mean, the ending to this segment, and practically to this whole film, seemed like it was supposed to be the most epic and coolest thing this movie had going for itself, but was just weird and anti-climactic as hell. Hopefully they’ll explain more about this later in the 3rd (if they decide to have it), but until then; I remain scratching my head.
2. Phase 1 Clinical Trials was directed by Adam Wingard who seems to be really enjoying the whole idea of having the camera, actually planted in his retina so everything he can see, we can see as well. It’s a fun idea that’s used well for the most part, but as the dude runs throughout the house, where ghosts and ghouls randomly show up, it becomes repetitive and boring. Also probably didn’t help matters that every scare in this segment is a jump-scare that builds on the intensity of the situation by having barely anybody or anything make any sort of noise, only to turn the volume up to 100, and blind-side us out of nowhere. It’s a lazy way to scare us, and must have also been Wingard’s way of making sure we were awake early on, because this segment sure as hell wasn’t keeping us alive and kicking.
Thankfully, it gets real, real better for us and our attention-spans:
3. A Ride in the Dark seemed like a dumb idea at first, but really won me over as it got more and more stupid, whereas also getting very original with what it had to say and do about the zombie-genre. Of course, you can’t have a found-footage flick without the ones who made it up the most famous in the first place, Blair Witch directors Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale, and you can tell that these two haven’t missed a step because what starts out as a bit of a dumb, unoriginal concept of a dude biking in the woods, gets bitten by a zombie, and becomes the zombie; turns out to be using those conventions to it’s advantage. The whole segment takes every zombie cliche you could ever think of (to the thirst for blood, the fact that they can’t run, are dumb, have no emotion for human-life, etc.) all gets turned upside down on it’s head and it kept me laughing, entertained, and ready for more and more blood, gore and laughs as it continued on. Whenever you hear or see a person talking about this movie, most likely the next segment I’m about to talk about will be getting all of the love and attention, but to me; this was the one that was sort of the unsung hero to me as it did something smart, with something dumb, and made it enjoyable for us all to watch. Let’s hope these guys stay with filming the POVs, and stay away from going back to regular filmmaking. They don’t need that shite!
4. As I stated just a couple moments ago, everybody will be ranting and raving about Safe Haven, directed by Gareth Evans, and rightfully so too: it’s funny, twisty, turny, random, outrageous, crazy, fun, and very entertaining. The story of a bunch of filmmakers going to a secret cult and checking it all out is already strange as it is, but it continues to get nuttier and nuttier as the segment roles on and to go any further about it, would be getting closer and closer to spoiler-territory. It makes a big difference too because what this segment relies on the most, is having us not know what to expect next as Evans is practically pulling whatever he can find out of his ass, throwing it on the screen, and allowing us to pick it, if we choose so. I did, and I feel like you will too.
5. Lastly, the movie ends on another wild note with Alien Abduction Slumber Party, which is exactly what you’d expect from a title like that: a bunch of kids have a slumber party, only to have it ruined by a bunch of aliens and their abducting-ways. Director Jason Eisener definitely has the hard task of ending this flick out on a solid note, and does a nice enough job to keep us entertained and interested, but also feels a bit too goofy and stupid to really get a liking to. And just like with the 2nd segment, the horror here is mainly just from loud noises, seemingly coming out of nowhere, once things are all quiet and calm. Didn’t work well on me the first time, and sure as hell not the second. Oh well, can’t win ’em all, now can you?
Consensus: Even if it isn’t as good as it’s predecessor, V/H/S 2 is still fun, uneven, random, crazy, original at times, and always something to look at, even if you can’t believe the stories or the people documenting them.
7 / 10 = Rental!!