Review: V/H/S/2

vhs-2-review

Synopsis:
A team of investigators seeks a missing teen in an abandoned house, but when they break in, they discover a series of mysterious VHS tapes. As they watch these terrifying short films, they realize that not only do they seem to hold supernatural power, but that they are not alone.

Cast:
In these low budget shorts, it’s less about who’s in it than who is directing. Most notably, Gareth Evans of The Raid fame helms a segment about a cult, while Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun) delivers an alien story.

Review:
Learning from past mistakes, the second installment of the very cleverly-orchestrated found-footage anthology is more innovative and satisfying to genre fans. Instead of a narrative frame joined by five shorts, the number is down to four now, giving the directors a bit more time to flesh out their stories, which is especially useful for the most outrageous and chaotic of them.

‘Safe Haven’ sets itself apart from any segment in this series, as director Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid) creates in addition to a most plausible reason for filming, an outright crazy and absurd cult story that devolves into bloody orgiastic action by the end.

This entry follows a film crew interviewing and investigating a cult leader. Granted rare access, they enter the compound with cameras both professional and discreet. What unfolds is the VHS concept at its best: scary, unpredictable fun that goes to the edge of your imagination and then jumps over.

The rest are worthy too, but nothing compares to that, the third story, and the final one, directed by Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun) is more silly, trivial fun that innovative terror. The most creative instead would be the first short, as a young man with a problematic eye is given a digital prosthesis, one that records everything and also comes with some unfortunate paranormal side effects.

The most fun and perhaps goriest would be ‘A Ride in the Park,’ as an unsuspecting biker, one wearing a helmet cam, is bitten by a zombie. We get a first person view of his slow transformation, his assault on passersby, and his rather unpleasant eating habits. Like ‘Safe Haven,’ this short goes to an absurd and bloody finish, as a group of zombies stumbles upon a kid’s birthday party.

To its credit, the main narrative, one that returns to the scene of the horror of the first, is slightly more engaging (it is limiting, after all), and it rightly concludes the film as it also starts the film. Here’s looking forward to V/H/S/3!

Should You See It?
It doesn’t look to be available on the big screen anytime soon again, but it’s easy to catch at home now – do it.

Anthony Marcusa
A pop-culture idealist and soft-core sports enthusiast, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history and full of alliteration, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.

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