Release Date: July 26, 2013
Running Time: 116 minutes
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your TV comes the harrowing V/H/S/2, a superior sequel to last year’s found-footage horror anthology. Boasting contributions by Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and Adam Wingard, V/H/S was an uneven collaborative effort that featured three truly creepy offerings, two unsatisfactory endeavors, and a framing device that lacked a payoff. V/H/S/2 also includes a ho-hum framing device that inadequately attempts to tie it to its predecessor—a detective and his assistant watch four unsettling VHS tapes as part of a missing persons investigation—but this is the only time the sequel disappoints. Its four stories all improve upon the five offered by V/H/S, whether they set out to scare the bejesus out of us or to provide some much-needed comic relief between chills. The only director to contribute to both films, You’re Next’s Adam Wingard stars in his Phase I Clinical Trails as a man who undergoes an operation that requires the installation of a camera in his eye. Next thing he knows he’s seeing ghosts in this spooky cautionary tale that ends in a disturbing fashion. Director Eduardo Sanchez’s A Ride in the Park marks his best work since 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, which was responsible for introducing the found-footage genre to mainstream movie audiences. This is a funny and delightfully gory account of the early stages of a zombie apocalypse, as shown from the POV of one of the recently undead. Director Gareth Huw Evans follows up last year’s riveting The Raid: Redemption with the mind-boggling Safe Haven. A TV crew’s attempts to uncover the dark secrets of a cult leader result in unbelievable bloody mayhem. Evan and co-director Timo Tjahjanto execute Safe Haven like gamers jacked up on energy drinks. V/H/S/2 wraps with Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener’s Slumber Party Alien Abduction, which finds a bunch of kids playing hide and seek from some hostile extraterrestrials. It probably would have been better to end V/H/S/2 with Safe Haven—it’s a hard act to follow. Taken on its own terms, though, Slumber Party Alien Abduction manages to unnerve with its haunting imagery and the terrifying use of noise to announce the arrival of these unfriendly visitors from outer space. Like its predecessor,V/H/S/2 offers a comforting look at what could be a bright future for low-budget, independent horror. It also raises the stakes for a possible V/H/S/3. A word of advice for the director and producer for overseeing a threequel: fix the franchise’s superfluous framing devices and you’re off to a flying start.
Aired: July 25, 2013
Web site: http://www.magnetreleasing.com/vhs2/