What I'm Watching: V/H/S/2
Since I reviewed the first V/H/S last Sunday, I figured what the heck, let's do #2 for this week. So let's dive straight in and get into this.
Tape 49 - The setup to VHS 2 is pretty much the same as the first one, but instead of a bunch of hired mischief makers, we follow a sleazy private investigator into a home on a case, and he finds a similar setup of tvs and videotapes like from the first film. In fact, it looks like there's some photos of the guy that killed the first group of people...
It was a solid enough way to set things up and keep the tapes flowing, and I liked that it was more focused on just two people, so we don't feel so cramped with so many characters and so little time. I also liked the horrific, visceral visuals in the final segment. And the lurking threat behind the PI and his assistant throughout as they went to each tape.
Phase 1 - The first tape comes from a new robotic eye implant from some guy with an eye injury. Sigh. Y'know, I'm not even gonna complain about these things not coming from VHS tapes anymore, if we're starting off right from here. Moving on...
He gets warned that because the implant and real eye will be fighting over dominance to send info to his brain for awhile, he might see glitches.
And boy howdy, does he ever! As night falls, he sees something in his bed that disappears, and when he spins around, he sees a creepy dude staring at him suddenly appear. And uh, I'll admit, I jumped. And flicked on lights. Maybe I shouldn't be watching this at 3am.
It admittedly had some good scares, and kept things going when he met a redhead with similar issues thanks to her cochlear implant. The plot definitely wasn't bad, and it sure as heck got the ball rolling with a bang.
A Ride in the Park - This one was a pretty straightfoward story of a guy going on a bike ride that lands him straight in the zombie apocalypse.
It had a decent use of GoPros, and fun to see zombies from this perspective. Takes a turn for the slow, when he's bitten and starts to turn and just lays there for awhile. Yep, watching trees grow, that's what I want in my horror. But it does have some fun zombie attacks from the first person view after he does turn. I also found how they ended it was an interesting take on zombies.
Safe Haven - Next up is about some investigative journalists trying to get in and film a commune of people trying to cross over into their promised land, and the typical side of people thinking their quacks.
Now, this could've gone one of two ways. The one already done in The Sacrement, just a straight up redo of Jonestown, or actually have them stumble into the supernatural. It DOES stray a bit too close to the former, but it does eventually turn towards the latter, which was refreshing. And bloody. And explodey. Kinda love it, and building up the cult for awhile wasn't bad.
Also, holy shit first, first person demon birth. That was pretty awesome.
The problem with this short, is that it becomes a bit too first person shooter at times as we watch people run around with weapons.
Slumber Party Alien Abduction - I do like that they brought aliens into the proceedings, since those are filmed so often, and this is the right time to drop them in, I think. The plot follows some kids filming their mischief and tormenting siblings, until it's finally interrupted by pesky aliens. Thankfully.
The downside to the aliens turning up is that it becomes just running around until the aliens kill everyone, which is pretty much the worst way to end a found footage movie. It's got some good tension because you're right in that perspective, but it feels done before. The movie "Alien Abduction" did it better, IMO.
Easily the best part was actually watching this happen from the *dog's* perspective, which is at least interesting.
Final thoughts - Once we got the main tropes out of the way in the first movie, the sequel has a few more interesting and unique stories and takes on found footage. It stands well enough on its own, and tells more varied stories now that the expected ones are out of the way, but most of the stories are ultimately less interesting than the first outing.
The cult story is the clear standout for me, for sheer levels of blood and gore. The final act of that short was the best thing in arguably either movie. If you liked the first, there's still a lot to enjoy here, but it never quite reached the same level, while still being perfectly fine on its own.