June 11, 2013

V/H/S/2 (2013)

The crime that most Hand Held/POV Horror flicks commit is that they aren't very realistic or they don't feel quite plausible. Usually they give you what are supposed to be average, every day people as characters, who are unexpectedly thrown headlong into some sort of horrifically terrifying situation, and yet they always seem to keep filming things, despite what should be an overwhelming instinct to drop everything and run like hell. Their reasons for doing so are always poor, and it often times comes off as the opposite of realistic.

The creators of V/H/S/ and V/H/S/2 at least find clever ways to make that issue go away, by involving the cameras in their movie's segments in a more natural way, making them feel as if they are an unobtrusive part of things.

That's not to say that the V/H/S films are without their share of issues, but they at least try to make things seem more plausible, at least on the "how could they still be recording?" front.

We thought the first V/H/S was decent enough on the whole, and we absolutely expected its sequel to improve on the formula that it established, taking the franchise to the next level.

As it turns out, V/H/S/2 is ends up being about the same kind of affair as was the first; half good, half not so much. *We're going to do our best not to spoil the movie with too many details, as each segment has its own unique hook & twist that is better experienced with no prior knowledge.

Tape 49- The wrap-around segment was solid for the most part, although it did contain some huge gaps in logic. I can't understand what would possess someone to enter a creepy house in the middle of the night, find a creepy room filled with videotapes & TV's that have been left on, and then begin to watch them... with the lights off... without having searched the house first... (I'm trying to make way more sense out of this than I should be.) To make things even worse, they split up in the dark house, which makes even less sense. Then, when one of them gets a headache and starts feeling out of sorts, the other says "I'll run to the pharmacy and get you some aspirin, you stay here!" That's some lazy, insulting shit right there. The segment falls apart a bit at the end too, with the last shot feeling far too cheesy for the terror that preceded it.

C-

She deserves whatever is about to happen to her.
Clinical Trials Phase 1- Excellent premise and idea, poor execution. After losing an eye, a man receives an ocular implant with the stipulation that he allow his day to day life be recorded, and that he turns the footage over to his benefactors for their further research. It turns out that the implant allows him to see ghosts, and the more he sees them, the more they can "touch" him... Like i said, great premise, but the ghosts in this one all just look like normal people standing around, and the scary bits that were thrown our way didn't scare us at all. This segment should have had us creeped out, but instead it left us flat. Also, did his ocular implant have built in audio? Decent effort, it just really underwhelmed us and did nothing to kick this sequel off with a bang.

C-

She actually kicked things off with a literal bang.
A Ride in the Park- Now this segment was entertaining. The zombie genre is probably at its zenith right now, so I suppose that it's fitting to see a zombie-themed segment in an anthology like this one. I wont spoil what they do in this segment other than to say its pretty clever, its really fun, and it gets really gory. It felt a little bit too loose in parts, but it finally got us into the movie, and delivered the goods.

B

Zombies don't usually wear helmets, but if you think about it, it's probably a really good idea.
Safe Haven- This is the segment that makes the entire movie worth seeing. This one was so good, that it honestly could have been (and maybe should have been) a feature length effort. It involves a crew of investigative reporters that convince a cult leader to allow them access into their world, and the price that they pay for gaining it. The story is tight, interesting, and is filled with all sorts of creepy-ass moments. Id say this segment was an A if it weren't for the way it wrapped up. To avoid ruining anything, what I'll say is that everything was aces right up until the... "payoff." When it happened, I was kinda like "alright, it's a tiny bit on the cheesy side, but alright..." and then the very last scene of the segment happened and I was all like "now why in the world would they do that?"

Almost an A, but the ending instead makes it a very solid B+

Kids make everything creepier. Everything.
 Slumber Party Alien Abduction- From the opening moments of the final segment, in which a gang of obnoxious, annoying pre-teen boys are acting like the crew of Jackass, I wanted it to be done. The alien abduction tale that unfolded did absolutely nothing for me, and I wish I hadn't bothered. It was annoying, shaky, confusing, and poorly done.

DO NOT WANT

This segment had us rooting for the aliens.
V/H/S/2 is nothing if not bold. In a genre overrun with cheap Hand Held/POV movies that confound more than they entertain, the collective behind the V/H/S flicks at least try to do things in an unconventional way. Some of the segments may not work for us, but you have to give the filmmakers credit for at least going for something different.

V/H/S/2 doesn't consistently deliver in the scare department like we hoped it would, but when it does work its creepy magic, it works well. The film's atmosphere is gritty and real, and it never feels forced or false. As far as the blood & gore quota goes, this movie delivers plenty of crazy, graphic, and inventive kills. This one is messy, and it pulls no punches in the shock department.

*HERE, THERE BE SPOILERS!* If one thing kills the V/H/S movies, it's the lackluster writing. Why would you ruin a perfectly great segment in an anthology by having a goat puppet say "Papa!"? Why would you make the characters in the wrap-around segment do things that no sensible person in their right mind would ever do, just to allow the story to take place? Why would you make a group of kids so annoying that you have no desire to pull for them to survive? Why in the hell would you have one of the "monsters" give a tongue in cheek "thumbs up" at the end of their segment, which effectively kills the mojo that it spent the whole movie trying to build?

Gaps in logic and poor characterization aside, the random addition (at least it felt random) of dark humor into a movie like this doesn't make things better. For us, it's missteps like that that kill the good parts in this, or any Horror flick.

Two great segments, one not-so-great segment, one really bad segment, and a middle of the road wrap-around made V/H/S/2 a mixed bag for us. It's worth seeing for the good stuff, but the bad stuff is really off-putting. I really hoped that the filmmaking collective behind this one would pull off a tighter, more compelling mix of shorts than they did with the first V/H/S, but that is not the case here. There are too many kitschy and winky "lol" moments that took us out of this one, and that's really a bummer.

If you liked the first one, then V/H/S/2 is worth a VOD rental, just know that it's an uneven experience at best. If you didn't really like V/H/S, then maybe rent something else.

C-

V/H/S/2 gives us some much needed beauty amidst all of its blood & carnage, and that's never a bad thing.

I'm not sure where the gorgeous Indonesian Hannah Al Rashid has been hiding, but she needs to be in more movies, asap. She's like a younger, hotter Catherine Zeta Jones, and she can act too.


6 comments :

  1. I went into this expecting too much I think - mostly because some sites raved the crap out of this film.

    I ended up being very disappointed. I only really liked "Safe Haven"

    The rest of the films dragged a bit for me - and that's funny cause Safe Haven was actually the longest segment.

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  2. One of the first times that I disagree with one of your reviews,I can see your point though. I like this movie because of subjective reasons. I loved V/H/S/2 maybe because my favourite horror movie ever is creepshow and this has a taste of it to me. I found all the segments at least really entertaining and creepy, Safe Haven being the best hands down (I even liked the goat saying papa). Anyway I've been reading you for some months now and this is the first time I comment. Your reviews and both informative and hilarious! Thanks for this wonderful site.

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  3. from howard

    v/h/s 2 sucked balls .
    perhaps they were fulfilling a contract to produce a 2nd movie and did not care ... bottom line is that the first movie v/h/s was awesome - had me from the 1st segment with the vampire chick - totally amazing , and the rest of the movie (minus) one segment , were great!

    this was bullshit

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  4. Thanks for the love, Liquid!

    This movie does have a taste of Creepshow in it, or maybe more like Creepshow 2?

    I guess the few little things like "Papa!" mixed with the last segement (which was awful) just killed the overall appeal of this one for us.

    I can totally understand how plenty of people will have a good time with this one though.

    Yeah, Howard, this one felt rushed and seemed to have less care applied to it. Aside from Safe Haven, pretty disappointing.

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  5. What narks me most about these films is the wraparound segment.Obviously the people are sent to find the 'tape' but why.It's needs a little background story to fill it out a little.This was on a par with the first film and that wasn't fantastic tbh.I want to like these films but only find them mildly enjaoyable.

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  6. I agree with your breakdown... pretty much 100%, though even though it was bad the *ahem* camera holder's fate in the last one made me sad. The first V/H/S was better, but mediocre (I did find the sequence with the brainwashed girl talking into her webcam creepy as hell, though, and the first sequence was kinda sexy). Have you done a review on "Little Deaths"? It's also anthology style, and really freakin' weird. Honestly from reviews I thought it would be more disturbing than it was (the dog story everyone is talking about didn't make sense to me - the reaction of the main guy seemed inappropriate versus leaving especially b/c the arrangement was mutual and I happen to be in the BDSM scene, the first story was great, and the middle story was...lol, but awesome). ABCs of Death I couldn't like simply b/c the kitten sequence is burned into my brain, but loved the skin/medical sequence... I love anthology type movies (burning ashes... or something like that, was one I liked too... ridiculous with the killer boobs and stuff but fun). Any other lesser known anthology recommendations (I've seen Family Portraits, all Creepshows, forget the title but takes place in a hotel and loosely referenced Lovecraft..., Tales from the Hood - awful, Tales of Terror - meh)? Just curious if there is something good I may have missed.

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