High on my list of must see horror films this year is V/H/S 2. I dug V/H/S, but couldn’t help but walk away from it feeling not so satisfied. Sure, it was a fun a ride with some segments stronger than others, but I needed…..more. Well, my friends if you felt the way I did V/H/S 2 gives you just that: More. More gore, mayhem and dismembered corpses than I could hope for. V/H/S 2 does not disappoint.
V/H/S 2 head on tackles that question that plagues all POV horror: “Why the hell don’t you drop the fucking camera and run!?!?”( Case in point: Cloverfield.). Until now it has been a question that horror fans have learned to accept as going unanswered. In each segment it is completely believable ( Well, as believable as a man having a retina implant that picks up ghosts can be) why the camera is still rolling. Be it a GoPro helmet cam or a button cam on a shirt, you never once ask yourselves why they are still holding the camera.
In Jason Eisener’s (Hobo With A Shotgun) segment “Alien Abduction Slumber Party” ( Think Signs meets Porky’s on crank), the camera is strapped to the back of the family dog. As the family is being chased, in one of the wildest alien abduction stories ever told on film, it feels natural that kids would go back for the dog. Who the hell wouldn’t? Most of us love our pets more than our families… Okay, maybe that’s just me. My personal feelings on family does not take away from how much fun I had watching this segment. Surprisingly light on gore ( If you’ve seen Eiseners’s Hobo With A Shotgun you’ll know why I was surprised), but once the gas pedal is hit AASP does not let up.
Eduardo Sanchez ( Lovely Molly) and Gregg Hale’s “A Ride In The Park” is the first zombie POV film from the perspective of the zombie. The whole segment being a product of a zombie bite while wearing a GoPro camera helmet. This of course allows for close-ups of all the gory goodness. Which is a lot. Seeing in first person a zombie disembowel someone then enjoy breakfast was a highlight in my life. I didn’t think it could get any better, then the zombies stumble on to a child’s birthday party. This segment could have easily been a featured length movie and that’s not to take anything away from it this segment was damn fun.
Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption) and Timo Tjaohjanto’s “Safe Haven” a crew of filmmakers documenting an eccentric cult leader inside his compound. Each crew member is equipped with a spy-cam in their shirt buttons. When all hell breaks loose and the demonic shit hits the fan, the cameras are rolling and we are front seat for this ride. With out any hyperbole or exaggeration Evan’s and Tjaohjanto have filmed the best 30 minutes ( give or take) of any horror film I have ever witnessed. Everything from the structure down to the editing flows so perfect you almost forget you’re watching a horror movie and feel as if you’ve actually stumbled on to lost footage.
Adam Wingard’s ( A Horrible Way To Die) segment “Clinical Trails” starts off with a guy ( played by Wingard) who just got a robotic retina implant that allows him to see ghosts. This segment starts off pretty standard but quickly takes a turn for interesting when we are introduced to a beautiful character that can hear the ghosts. My hats off to Wingard for coming up with one of the most interesting ways to film the segment. Not to mention a truly cringe worthy ending.
The biggest gripe I had with V/H/S 1 was how vague and unresolved the “framing” segment was. Well, that’s not a problem here. Simon Barrett (writer turned director) does an excellent job of building on what was left wide open in the first film. A PI and his assistant ( I got the feeling it was his girlfriend) are hired to find a missing student and of course end up watching the tapes. Barrett handles this with much more clarity that leads to a creepy ending. I dug it more than the first and Barrett was able to create a mythos of sorts that I’m sure will start to come into play in the sequels to come.
The production team behind the V/H/S movies have been reading my horror diary. Once again they brought together my dream team of directors. After V/H/S 1, I didn’t think it was possible to top that crew, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t. Sanchez, Eisener and Evans alone should be enough to draw in the most cynical of horror fans. And these boys brought their A game and slapped it down on the table. I don’t know if these guys were told to amp it up or they made it a personal goal to out do the first film, but they succeeded. Man, did they.
In the world of horror films, sequels rarely out “scare” the original. Normally, they are nothing more than cheaply made cash grabs, that have little to do with the predecessors plot. Now with any rule there are exceptions: Aliens, Evil Dead 2 (yes, it’s a sequel not a remake) and Devil’s Rejects are movies that not only continue what was started, but build on the original story to help further expand and drive the plot to new heights. V/H/S 2 does just that. By rounding up another gaggle of seasoned genre directors, V/H/S 2 is able to not just add to the story but take this shit to a whole new level.