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V/H/S/2 (2013)

| September 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

The very concept behind both V/H/S movies is admittedly clever.  What would happen if someone found an errant old video cassette tape and put it on.  In the real world, it would probably be blank or at least packed with either bad porn or old episodes of “Oprah’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes.’  But this is a movie and the results are far more tantalizing.  Yet, neither film in this series has been completely successful.  The idea behind this enterprise is that the tapes contain horrifying real-life footage of supernatural incidents.  In both films, the results have been spotty at best.

The original 2012 film was a messy plotless hodgepodge of supernatural horror wrapped in a burglary story that the filmmakers didn’t even bother to set up.  The sequel is slightly better organized.  It’s sillier, and slightly more successful, but it still doesn’t reach the potential that this idea could have.

V/H/S/2 tells four separate stories wrapped in a framework that, like the first, is hardly even written at all.  It involves and man and a woman whose occupation is videotaping people doing bad things and then blackmailing them with the footage.  As the movie opens, the couple receives a phone call from an unnamed client who want them to investigate the disappearance of a young college student who has gone missing.  Entering his home, they find a bank of television sets, all emitting white noise.  Conveniently, there is also a stack of VHS tapes, which they begin to watch.

As with the original film, the tapes contain separate horrifying incidents that make up the anthology.  The stories this time are a little more straight-forward then they were in the previous film, containing stories about ghosts, zombies, cults, and alien abduction.  These stories are, for the most part, disappointing.  The first, called ‘Phase I Clinical Trials’, is a badly written story dealing with a man who has just received a cybernetic eye and begins seeing ghosts.  It doesn’t really build to anything and the resolution is just stupid.  The second, called ‘A Ride in the Park’, is actually kind of humorous in a gorefest kind of a way.  It deals with a guy biking through the woods while wearing a helmet cam who is bitten by a zombie and becomes witness to the zombie apocalypse.  It’s as silly as it sounds, especially when the zombies attack a kid’s birthday party.  Yet, it runs on too long and becomes repetitive.

The third film, called ‘Safe Haven’, is the only one of the four that works.  It’s a grisly little set piece involving a team of journalists who go to investigate an Indonesian cult run by a strange, jittery little man who orders his cult members to kill themselves.  What happens after that will not be revealed here, except to say that the pacing, as well as the storytelling, is excellent.  It is effectively creepy, and actually scary.

The final film, with the catchy title ‘Alien Abduction Slumber Party’, is kind of in the middle.  It deals with a group of kids left home alone for the night who are besieged by aliens.  The story works but the camera (which is mounted on the back of the family dog) is so jittery that you can’t really tell what’s going on.

The stories are interesting, but they are all labored by the same problem: The idea that the camera has to be held by someone.  Often, the images are so scrambled that you have a hard time telling what you’re looking at.  Plus, except for ‘Safe Haven’, the stories aren’t all that scary.  This is a better film than its predecessor only because the filmmaker is a little more sure-footed.  That doesn’t make it a particularly good film, but it makes you kind of hope that “V/H/S/3” will clear up the problems that this film had.  It’s a novel concept, but it still needs work.

Also, read my review of V/H/S ==>

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2013) View IMDB Filed in: Horror