Friday, June 21, 2013

V/H/S/2 - More Found Footage Madness

Directed by A Bunch of Different People
Written by A Bunch of Different People
Starring A Bunch of Different People

Tag Line:
Who's Tracking You?

Alternate Titles:
Video/Kastea/2 - Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia

It's time to dust off your VCR's and get ready for more cinéma vérité horrors!  About 9 months ago, I reviewed V/H/S and I loved it.  While the whole "found footage" style has been abused to death, I thought that it was very well done.  On the first go around, the reasoning for some of the characters to have a video camera one them seemed a little far fetched, but were still clever.  On this go around, it was a little more thought in each segment.

The wraparound segment "Tape 49" (Written and Directed by Simon Barrett) this time involves a couple of private investigators who are hired to search for a missing college student.  They break into his last known address and find the place a mess.  There are TV's stacked up much like they were in the first film's wraparound segment.  This of course leads to the watching of VHS tapes to search for clues.

I see dead people!

Phase I Clinical Trials
Written by Adam Wingard
Directed by Simon Barrett

The weakest of the segments is first out of the gate.  It involves a man who receives a high tech camera eye transplant after being in a car accident.  Upon returning home and trying to resume normal life, he starts to experience some, shall we say, technical difficulties.  Besides restoring his sight, this eye has apparently allowed him to view the "other side", and his house is filled with bloody ghosts that terrorize him.  Relying primarily on jump scares, with a couple of genuinely creepy shots thrown in, this segment had me scratching my head a bit.  I can not, for the life of me figure out why the ghosts would turn violent after he receives his new eye.  Supposedly they were always there, but the eye allowed him to see them.  Maybe that pisses them off?  Also, the bit with the girl who had a cochlear implant and can now hear ghosts was obviously there for pure exposition and obligatory T&A.  Not that I have a problem with mindless T&A, mind you.


A Ride in the Park
Written by Gregg Hale & Eduardo Sánchez
Directed by Jamie Nash & Eduardo Sánchez

I really dug this one!  A man goes for a bike ride on some wooded trails, with a Go Pro camera on attached to his helmet.  Not too far into his ride, a woman covered in blood runs out in front of him.  She's also severely injured and he tries to help her.  Unfortunately for him, she was attacked by zombies and turns herself, attacking and biting him.  What follows next is quite possibly the first POV zombie flick where you are literally watching everything from a zombie's perspective.  It was pretty fun to watch the zombie carnage spread through a birthday party being held at a little campground area.  If you've ever wondered what it would be like to run with the undead pack, this segment should give you a pretty good feel for it!

Ooohh....this isn't good.

Safe Haven
Written by Gareth Evans & Timo Tjahjanto
Directed by Gareth Evals & Timo Tjahjanto

Probably the best of the segments, Safe Haven follows a news crew that is interviewing a cult leader in Indonesia who allows them onto his compound.  The cult is preparing for their ascension to Paradise and it is suggested that the cult lead (known as Father)  has sex with the children on the compound to "purify" them.  The news crew is shooting the interview/documentary with standard cameras, but unknown to Father, they are also wearing hidden camera buttons on their clothes to get the low down on what's really going on.  Father and his cult are creepy enough as it is, but things get REALLY bad when a bell tolls and Father announces that "It it time".

Everything goes bad in apocalyptic proportions on the compound for the news crew.  Mass suicides are just the beginning and the catalyst for the unbelievable shitstorm the befalls the news crew. I was very surprised by this segment and I found myself slack jawed and in disbelief by the end.  Extremely well done and extremely creepy.  This is really best experienced for yourself.

I would shit myself.  Just saying.......

Slumber Party Alien Abduction
Written by Jason Eisner
Directed by John Davies & Jason Eisner

I'm pretty sure at this point you know how I feel about aliens, but for those who may be new here, let me quickly reiterate:  They scare the crap out of me.  Zombies and monsters and such?  No problemo.  Aliens?  I'll wet the bed and pass out.  God damned anal probing bastards.....anyway....the final segment has to do with....GUESS WHAT?!?  ALIENS!!!!!!!!!   The segment follows a teen who's parents go away for the weekend.  He and his friends continually play pranks on his sister and her friends, including hitting them with squirt guns and water balloons at the lake and interrupting Sister's sexy time with her boyfriend.  Typical night for suburban teens, right?  Well, that all ends abruptly when blinding white light blasts through the windows with a sound like a cross between a freight train and a really loud tuba blares.  Then the aliens attack, scooping up the kids and bringing them back to their ship.

Brother, Sister, friend and the dog (who has a camera attached to him, part of an earlier prank and the reason we're able to see everything going on now) are able to get free and the aliens hunt after them, leading from the dock, to the woods to a barn.  Now, being that I have the alien freak-out disposition, I have to say that this was the more frightening of the segments.  Call me a wuss, it's okay, I can take it.

The Ultimate Home Entertainment System!    

After the alien segment, the film finsihes up it's Tape 49 wraparound segment in a nice gruesome way.  Afterwards I had to go outside and get some fresh air and clear my head (god damned aliens man!) and I had time to reflect on what I had witnessed.  VHS 2 is an improvement on an already solid first feature and I wouldn't mind seeing a third film added to the series.  I think that there is a lot of territory to be explored by the POV style that VHS brings.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Body Count:  Ya know what?  I lost count, so we'll just say:  A LOT!

Boob Count:  2 Pair!  I was trying to come up with a poker joke.....but I've got nothing.  Poker?  I barely know her!   .............hey it's better than nothing.....YOU trying doing this!

Beast Count:  Oh yeah....we've got all kinda monsters and stuff here.  Zombies, ghosts, whatcha-ma-whoozits, aliens......

Final Thoughts
Proof positive that not only are anthologies still a viable medium in the genre, but cinéma vérité is as well and there is still much to explore in that medium.  Sure there are things that don't quite click here, but this is the horror genre and you've got to allow yourself a little suspension of disbelief.  If you sit back and go for the ride, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Final Rating
Four out of Five Pizza Rolls!

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