V/H/S/2. That's where we're at right now. It's available in limited theatrical and VOD right now on your TV at home though not on mylar. Let's give this sequel its own life, and discuss it outside of the frame of reference as being a sequel for one second because it's its own movie. Sure it shared a title with a number after it and it has the same basic founding premise as the original film, anthology style story involving POV/found footage shorts with a wrap story. Each story is unique and separate from the original film. Let's give it an identity and review and opinion all its own.
I generally don't write reviews about movies that I dislike. I find it rude and I generally gain nothing from it. Every once in awhile a movie gives me something to say i.e. provides a soap box for which I use it to spout off some ridiculous shit that no one cares about anyway. See my review of the fucking Bunny Game if you wanna know what one of those reviews looks like because today you're getting a wholehearted honest to goodness positive review.
I've been reviewing with talking points or bullet points lately. I think that they're useful. I hope you find them useful as well:
First the trailer:
Now we begin...
The Players: Many people you will not be familiar with which is exactly the point of a POV style movie or if not POV shot from the camera's perspective. Remember that the camera is an actor in these movies, so I'll treat it like one. The acting is fine, fun, appropriate and high energy. No bad casting. Overdramatic when it needs to be, underwhelming to either comedic effect or to induce suspense at others. The camera work is appropriate and did not induce nausea as a found footage/POV movie can. Well done.
The Scare: Call me a pussy! That's right. I got on the edge of my seat. Literally. My knuckles went a little white, and the way I know I was really scared... my fucking nose got cold. Happens when I get a rush of Adrenalin. Also, I am typing very fast having just finished the movie. Good job. Not all installments have the same scare level. Not all installments hook you right away, but they all have something that could get under your skin.
The B(lood) & G(ore): Do yourself a favor gore fuckers... you go watch this movie right now and treat yourself to a hefty level of guts and carnage. I will give nothing away. I will tell you that there's practical effects, a modicum of CGI (unless it was just a bad practical which got me in the Evil Dead remake) and there's a car tank worth of blood. Maybe even a car gas tank plus a couple kiddie pools. Gore. Blood. Dangling flesh. Each installment handles gore in a unique way, and you should try to appreciate each one for its own creative style.
The Ta’s: Yes, I talk about boobs. I have a penis that likes them. I haven't as of yet removed it. Yes there are boobs, and they are nice. Not many boobies, but boobs. There is also... A WANG. Get comfortable with your manhood and sack up. Penises don't kill people, children produced from sperm kill people.
The Family Plot: Let's break it down by story.
Tape 49 aka The Wrap Story: Effective wrap story that keeps you interested though wholly uncreative but does feature the aforementioned boobies. Acting good. Solid and strong finish.
Clinical Trials Phase 1: What a unique idea... throw an implant in a guys head, a working cybernetic eyeball. Then tell him that he might see things while the device is still in the testing phase. That's unique and this made for an excellent premise with a few modest scares and with the help of a shaky, jostled camera, suspense.
A Ride in The Park: This is the gore score right here. A clever take on your favorite zed word. Zombies. That's all I'll say but while the first few moments didn't grab me and were predictable, this one goes on to pound the pavement and tear it the fuck up.
Safe Haven: Indonesian cults... stay away from them. This entry is a bit slow at first but the pay off is just brilliant, disturbing and actually somewhat campy. Funny. Gross and well... I was happy it picked up when it did because I was waiting for the movie Bad Dreams to start on YouTube.
Slumber Party Alien Abduction: It's exactly what you think. The use of noise and sound in this installment is extremely effective as well as camera placement, lighting and visual effects. It's Jason Eisener. That's why. Fans of 80's movies where the kids battle the monster/alien.. this is a love note to you. This is the one that had me gripping my panties trying to figure out if the tension would break. Ever. Well done.
The Finish: This is where I want to interject a small bit of comparison with the first film. Most people were disappointed with the wrap story for the first V/H/S film. I can say that this one isn't entirely different. I can tell you that it's executed better and the ending is far superior, effects driven and worth the wait. In other words, the wrap story wraps the movie and it gives the audience one last FUCK YEAH! More gore with your VOD purchase this evening Dr. TERROR? Why certainly!
The Art: Great poster/cover art for this entry. Seems like the decided to pull away from the actual VHS on this one. I know one of the major criticism by tapeheads for the first movie was that it played to them so well, especially collectors and yet the movie itself wasn't made for tapeheads at all... just a horror movie with a title that happens to match one of the latest collecting fads in our genre history. Good art.
The Scope: Is V/H/S/2 better than the original movie? That's the question on everyone's mind. Like the original or hate it you wanna know whether this one beat it or at least was an improvement on what some consider to be a dissappointment (not this motherfucker... I love me goddamn both).
V/H/S initially sucked for me. Got nauseous. Hated the misogynistic undertones (this coming from the guy who includes a boob commentary in his fucking reviews). Ultimately I loved the story telling and aside form a wrap story that seemed more utilitarian than something to be proud of, it won me over. I loved all the actual stories save for the Ti West installment which didn't play to Ti West's strength of the slow burn... it's a short film after all... No time for slowburn, Dr. Jones. I ended up loving the whole thing and even Ti West's offering became enjoyable. Radio Silence knocked my socks off and to this day have put together one of my favorite shorts of all time.
V/H/S/2 (originally titled S-V/H/S) is powerful, fast paced and effects driven with some novel stories and original takes on some old ideas using the strengths of a POV/found footage style film and not playing to the Tapeheads or trying to be.. for the lack of a better word... verbose. I will say that the use of zombies or zombie like creatures in V/H/S/2 got to be repetitive. I didn't exactly mind it but I was aware of it which let down the suspension of disbelief for a second or two. I love all the stories. I enjoyed the wrap story. I was not nauseous as previously stated. I'm a happy guy. I would say that as a whole V/H/S/2 is a better movie, fans will like it more and folks who hated the original will enjoy this. While I enjoyed the sequel more than the original I still enjoyed Radio Silence's installment more than any of the entries in either film.
It's not necessarily a matter of liking either movie better or worse, but I will say that V/H/S/2 should appeal to a broad fanbase and give the effects folks something to enjoy. There's no glitch monster. There's no true slow burn and most of the stories are straightforward narratives that can be enjoyed over and over again without the abuse or overuse of one's brain. That's a good thing. It's entertaining. That's what we want, right? To be entertained!
Go watch it on VOD or theaterically. Enjoy it. Let me know what you think.
and if you wanna know who the fuck is in it and what they did here's an IMDB page for you to stare at.