Sunday, October 6, 2013

V/H/S 2 (2013)

V/H/S 2 (USA, 2013) - Color, Director(s): Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sánchez, Timo Tjahjanto, and Adam Wingard
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 96 min.

Z-rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

During promotion of the first V/H/S, there was a lot of buzz among horror fans and VHS enthusiasts, believing this would be a match made in heaven. Despite the amount of support going into its release, many fans were ultimately disappointed when the film came out and didn't live up to the hype. After receiving mixed reviews, many did not want to get their hopes up for this sequel as it may not live up to the hype.

The first segment was a big disappointment to me. A man has one of his eyes replaced with a prosthetic containing a camera (that records to VHS, apparently), so we see this entire segment from his perspective. I'm sure you can almost guess what the rest of the story is going to be about. Although the new twist allowed for some interesting cinematography, the story was a little uninspired as we've seen pretty much the same thing in The Eye (a Pang Brothers horror movie that spawned its own sequel and a Hollywood remake with Jessica Alba). The final segment was also a little disappointing. As with most "found footage" movies, a lot of time is devoted to make them look like home movies so it all feels more realistic. I've complained about this in the Paranormal Activity movies before but seeing as this is just part of a larger film, it feels like too much time is spent watching a bunch of kids hang out.

"Whoa, a tape with an 'X' on it... let's watch it!!"

The second segment is where things get a little more interesting. Some douche wearing a helmet-cam is riding his bike in the woods when he comes across a hysterical woman screaming for help. As he's getting off the bike, you see that she's covered in blood and a few scrapes when she suddenly starts puking up this black/brown goo. She turns out to be "infected" but she's not the only one. The third segment is easily the best and maybe even the best of the entire series. A news crew is setting up for an interview with the leader of a religious commune. What initially seems like a peaceful paradise begins sounding more like a pedophile cult as we find out that the Father sleeps with all the children. The film crew tries to get out when they realize something is wrong with this place, but it turns out something much more sinister is actually happening here.

Nudity: There's footage of a couple in a motel room but at the beginning of the movie. After that, only random bits of nudity is spread throughout the movie. I believe there is a quick shot of a blood-drenched couple having sex during the cult segment.

Gore: There's a lot of blood and guts in the middle two segments, which are also the best ones. Intestines are ripped out, throats are cut, and people are eaten. This isn't the type of movie that pulls its punches when it comes to the gore department.

Awesome: Pretty awesome. I'm a fan of anthology films in general but I appreciate the homage this series pays to the VHS format. Although I enjoyed the segments "A Ride in the Park" and "Safe Haven" the most, I think the weakest part of the film is actually the wraparound story. Are these particular tapes cursed? Is it the house that they're watching it in? Are all the tapes in this house cursed? Why are they different from the tapes in the first one? None of these things are ever clearly explained and leaves you wondering why you're watching a random assortment of shorts. There isn't much of a overarching story connecting these segments. If they had better reasons connecting these particular shorts together, I think it would elevate the movie as a whole. As it stands though, I did enjoy this sequel more than the original and was glad to see a new addition in horror anthology films.