Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Horrors of October - V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2 (2013)

V/H/S/2 sadly does not match up with the highs or even the lows of the original found footage anthology film, a movie which surprisingly made it on to my Top 20 of 2012. It instead just barely squeaks through with an overall fair rating, thanks largely to one short. Once again, the wrap-around segments of the entire film are really, really lame. Resident horror screenwriter Simon Barrett steps into the director's chair for the first time, delivering a very poor tale of two private investigators checking out a missing college kid's house, only to find a collection of VHS tapes with snuff material and get themselves into a small pickle. And yes, yet again, these VHS tapes somehow have picture perfect clarity and hold material shot on GoPros and high-end production cameras. Adam Wingard, who crafted the brilliant THE GUEST and the cult hit YOU'RE NEXT, unfortunately delivers the worst short of them all. "Phase 1 Clinical Trails" has Wingard himself playing a mumbly guy who gets a bionic eye after a car accident and begins to see dead people. It's repetitive, it's ponderous, and it has a random chick who has past sexual trauma yet wants to suddenly bang this stranger she barely knows. Eduardo Sánchez, co-creator of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and grandfather to this horror subgenre, teamed with his former producer Gregg Hale to do "A Ride In The Park", a middling but slightly humorous short where we follow the first-person view of a biker that has been attacked by forest zombies. The idea of found footage with zombies makes you want to eye-roll instantly but the duo get to mix in some pathos amid the carnage and the final kill is a hoot. THE RAID's Gareth Evans and buddy Timo Tjahjanto steal the entire show with "Safe Haven", which features a small documentary crew getting in over the heads when they enter a cult's compound. It weaves a nicely fleshed out story, easily bounces between multiple viewpoints, and it delivers a ton of creepy WTF material. And hey, a short that doesn't end with everyone dead! Finally, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN's Jason Eisener ends with "Slumber Party Alien Abduction", which has several siblings and their friends playing pranks on each other until a group of extraterrestrials show up. I liked the switch-up with sci-fi horror and the terrifyingly loud alien sounds but the mixture of very shaky cam and intense strobe lights got really annoying fast. Plus, nearly the entire thing is captured on a camera attached to a dog; go on, take a guess on what his fate will be. So if you are in the mood for some more found footage movies where the question of "who edited this?" is hardly answered, V/H/S/2 is at least watchable fare.


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