PLOT: The sequel to the V/H/S anthology film, V/H/S/2 continues the series, collecting four horror shorts utilizing the “found footage” aesthetic. When two private investigators search an abandoned apartment looking for a missing student, they uncover VHS tapes, which play as our short films.
First thing first: I think V/H/S/2 does a very good job at giving us different takes on the found footage movie. A lot of the times with these sorts of movies, it always comes back to one question: why don’t they just put the camera down and run. With GoPros, that question is easily answered, though still sticking to the “found” aspect of it restricts you just a bit. Even so, the aesthetics of these particular short films give you angles that you wouldn’t ordinarily see.
However, and this is a nitpick: why would you ever transfer GoPro footage to a VHS tape? I know the series is based around the idea of people discovering these tapes, but it can be updated. It would still be the same movie if they were playing these movies off of the kid’s hard drive. Besides, if these were really on VHS, the quality would have suffered; we wouldn’t be seeing these crystal clear images that the movie offers. At least the original V/H/S kept with the grungy tape aesthetic.
Technical aspects aside, like most other anthology series, you have a mixed bag of films, some good, some bad. I enjoyed the first film the most (Phase One Clinical Trials) mostly because I liked the idea of the whole thing being recorded without the guy being able to turn it off. I’m kind of over zombie movies, so I didn’t get a whole lot of enjoyment out of the second film (A Ride in the Park), but I thought it was an interesting angle to see, from the GoPro helmet of someone that turns. The Asian satanic cult film (Safe Haven) went on too long and got old pretty quick, and the final film was forgettable (Slumber Party Alien Abduction).
There’s plenty of gore in this one. That’s at least the main thing you can expect from these movies. People explode, throats are slit, and oh so many bullets to the head. It gets a little excessive, but you can’t put a price on gore.
Gore Rating: 5 out of 5
There are some genuinely creepy moments in this film. Safe Haven is super crazy, and cults are inherently unnerving, but it throws a lot at you and gets too in-your-face for its own good. There’s definitely something to be said about the creepiness that comes with a forced perspective. You never feel like you’re seeing what you want to see and it gets frustrating.
Scares: 2.5 out of 5
While you don’t get a whole lot of skin, you get it early. Tape 49 has a quick scene of the private investigators peeping into a hotel room where you see a topless woman and Phase One Clinical Trials and Safe Haven each have a quick sex scene. It’s not super filled with nudity, but it’s there.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 3.5 out of 5
V/H/S/2 is an okay film. The thing about anthology films is that if you don’t like the current short, you only have to sit through it for so long. The aesthetics are pretty cool in this one, but they also don’t make much sense given the theme of the movie. I enjoyed Phase One Clinical Trials for it’s inventiveness, but the other films didn’t really wow me in any sort of way. There were some good ideas, but the storylines didn’t pull me in too much.