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Excelled better than it's prodecessor.

Posted : 3 years, 4 months ago on 14 August 2015 03:58

This sequel had a few creative ideas, but the sub-plot with the detectives looking for the kid while one of them plays the VHS tapes kind of caught me off-guard near the end.

For the segments, well...

Phase 1 - Clinical Trials - Really good novel idea! A man looking at ghosts through a camera implanted on his new eye along with some pretty decent jump-scares. Even though it was a little nasty, I guess the short worked for this anthology.

A Ride In The Park - Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale's short is the highlight of this movie. What's not to like when you see footage being recorded from the protagonist who turns into a zombie about 2 minutes into the segment as he strolls with the other zombies?

Safe Haven - Gareth Evans, after doing his action thriller movie "The Raid", brings a lot of tension and scares to this segment. What made it really frightening in my opinion was the build up of suspense when the Indonesian cult begins to go insane and the amount of gore during the most terrifying scenes, such as the Demon-Child emerging from the female character and insanity of the characters that makes this short so cringe-worthy and hard to watch for the faint-hearted.

Slumber Party Alien Abduction - The aliens looked really, really silly in this last segment. Sure, it had potential to be really compelling in a way of what a bizarre alien encounter would be like from one group's perspective. I can give this a pass for the amount of efforts the writers put in to making this last segment as scary as possible, and the characters weren't that annoying as well. But the dog...c'mon, really?

Overall, this sequel does a lot better with the amount of creativity and scares the people in this movie put in, but still had a few subtle flaws that they could have taken care of.

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V/H/S/2 (2013) review

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 25 February 2014 12:03

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.

I have been wanting to see this since I saw the rumors that it would come out! Thank goodness for video on demand! This has one less video than the previous movie. There are only a few familiar faces in the cast including Mindy Robinson and Adam Wingard. Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch Project), Adam Wingard (You're Next), Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption), Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun), Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), and Simon Barrett (You're Next) are some of the more well known directors involved with this one.

Tape 49 directed by Simon Barrett
It starts out interesting with a man video taping a man and woman about to have sex. You find out the man is actually a private investigator. Him and his partner quickly get another case to find a missing guy where they end up finding the tapes. Of course as we get further into the tapes the wraparound segment gets spookier. The end was off the wall and odd, but it was still pretty interesting. 6/10

Clinical Trials directed by Adam Wingard
Well this is an interesting and fun sounding concept. I like how you can see him blanking as opposed to them making it so he unrealistically never blinks. It reminds me a lot of The Eye movies, but just with the eye being a camera. There are some pretty creepy moments that really catch you off guard. The ending was pretty crazy and unexpected. 8/10

A Ride in the Park directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale
I love zombies and this short does them justice. It is fun, has some good twists, and brings something new to the zombie genre. It is a thrill ride in my opinion. I loved the ending to this segment. 8/10

Safe Haven directed by Timo Tjahjanto
I am hearing a lot about this segment and that it is the best of the bunch here. It starts off slower than the rest as it is the longest and allows us to get to know the characters pretty well. There are some interesting twists and turns in this one. When the shit hits the fan it doesn't let down. It is crazy brutal and just pure insanity! That ending! 9/10

Alien Abduction Slumber Party directed by Jason Eisener
It wasn't the craziest or best of the bunch, but it was still fun and entertaining. This one went by too quickly in my opinion. It was more funny than scary also. Although I thought the ending was pretty sad. 7/10

This sequel most of the stories actually made sense and didn't make you guess at what is going on which I felt was an improvement. As an average of all the segments together this is an 8/10. Almost as good as the first one in my opinion. Check it out!

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A superior follow-up

Posted : 5 years, 6 months ago on 14 June 2013 12:55

"These tapes only effect you if you play them in the correct sequence."

While this reviewer personally enjoyed 2012's found footage horror anthology V/H/S, it received a mixed critical reception, and undeniably left room for improvement. Its cult following guaranteed a sequel, which we're now faced with less than a year later. Despite its ostensibly rushed nature, V/H/S/2 is a rare case of a follow-up which surpasses the original. It's a slicker, brisker and more thrilling anthology of horror shorts, making the initial V/H/S look like an amateurish warm-up. Backed by solid production values, strong acting, and a selection of remarkable creative visions, V/H/S/2 is a big success, showing how good an omnibus can be in the correct hands.

Private investigators Larry (Lawrence Michael Levine) and Ayesha (Kelsy Abbott) are assigned to look into the disappearance of a young student. Breaking into his house at night, the pair only find his television blaring white noise, a large collection of VHS tapes, and a laptop. As Larry searches the house, Ayesha begins to watch the video cassettes. On the first tape, "Clinical Trials," a patient (Adam Wingard) receives an artificial eye which films everything he sees for the doctors. But the man begins witnessing malevolent ghosts around his home, and comes to realise that this ability is a result of the surgery. On the next tape, "A Ride in the Park," a biker (Jay Saunders) attaches a GoPro camera to his helmet as he rides through the local woods, but is confronted with a zombie outbreak. The third segment, "Safe Haven," concerns a group of journalists who travel to an Indonesian compound to report on a troublesome cult. But the observers soon find that things are far more sinister, with the cult's leader (Epy Kusnandar) looking to unleash pure evil onto the world. And finally, "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" follows a bunch of kids who are left home alone for a weekend. Using cameras to capture their acts of tomfoolery, the young ones are visited by vicious extraterrestrials.

While V/H/S/2 retains two directors from its predecessor (Wingard and Simon Barrett), the roster is otherwise filled with newcomers, introducing fresh filmmaking blood and permitting the sequel to venture off in new and exciting directions. Naturally, the big thing with anthologies is that certain shorts are better than others, which was a relevant criticism for the first film. V/H/S had some dead weight and ran too long, but part deux is superior, with strong shorts across the board. Admittedly, the wraparound narrative feels a bit forced, and there's still not enough of a compelling reason to provide a central plot as an excuse to showcase the shorts, but the other segments range from very good to great.

By far, the best short is "Safe Haven," directed by Timo Tjahjanto and The Raid mastermind Gareth Evans. It's a horror masterpiece, excelling due to its inventive premise, intriguing build-up, as well as the bursts of tension and foreboding. All hell eventually breaks loose (literally), and it is a sight to behold. Evans goes bonkers, employing a level of blood and gore on the same level as Ichi the Killer, and the short continually manages to top itself in terms of insanity and gore. Added to this, the found footage presentation amplifies the experience rather than serving as a hindrance, which is the mark of a sound creative team. Also brilliant is "A Ride in the Park," which treats your typical zombie premise with refreshing ingenuity. The unique hook is that most everything is recorded via a GoPro attached to the head of a zombie, allowing us to see zombie carnage from the perspective of one of the walking dead. Its inventive cinematography and seamless special effects makes this a real winner, and its short runtime generates welcome briskness. The creators behind the segment, Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sánchez, were both involved in 1999's The Blair Witch Project. How appropriate.

All the praise for "A Ride in the Park" and "Safe Haven" in no way implies that the other two segments are subpar in any way; on the contrary, "Clinical Trials" and "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" are very good as well. The imaginative photography of director Wingard's "Clinical Trials" is particularly laudable, as we see everything from the first-person perspective of the main character. Although it does rely on a few cheap shocks, it's an effectively atmospheric piece of work, and the climactic moments are especially intense. Similarly, "Slumber Party," which was directed by Jason Eisener (the mind behind Hobo with a Shotgun), is a beautifully-orchestrated short. Most of the footage is derived from the kids' dog, which has a camera attached to its head, making sure that nobody can ever ask why characters would keep recording as the shit hits the fan. The only thing holding V/H/S/2 back from perfection is the wraparound narrative, hence it's fortunate that it only takes up such a small amount of time.

It's hard to imagine horror buffs, or fans of the first V/H/S, walking away disappointed with V/H/S/2, which left this reviewer hungry for further sequels. A horror omnibus franchise may seem like a flimsy idea, but this series provides an excellent outlet for budding indie filmmakers to experiment with horror and found footage tropes. And if the standard is as good as this, further sequels seem very enticing indeed.


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