Oct 29, 2013

Day 29: V/H/S/2 (2013)

Can a once-prolific blogger who hasn't written 31 posts all year find it in his soul to review 31 previously unseen horror films in 31 days of October? Let's find out...

I don't get it. I really don't. I was going to begin this review (V/H/S/2 is streaming on Netflix, be tee dubs) with a link to my review of the first V/H/S film from 2012. I know I wrote it. I mean, I just know it. I remember sitting down and telling y'all how much y'all were gonna love it. How much I loved it. Well, most of it. Or half of it. I forget. I know I loved several of the segments while several others were just meh. But I've checked and re-checked...and that review just doesn't exist. Or maybe it's a Halloween mystery disappearance thing. Yeah...maybe some evil force deleted my review and replaced it with a post about my cats, or baseball, or food or bourbon. I'm going with that.

Speaking of bourbon, let me go pour myself a big one before I start this bad boy.

There. Much better.

Like the first film, V/H/S/2 is a horror anthology film. A series of non-related (?) short films captured on grainy VHS film. Each segment is written and directed by a different person, none of whom you've probably heard of besides Eduardo Sánchez of The Blair Witch Project fame. I'm a big fan of horror anthologies. I could point you to my review of the first film in this series as proof, but...let's stop talking about that. Instead, I'll do a mini-review of each segment. One quick paragraph each. Yay!

Tape 49 - This segment frames the entire film from the beginning through the conclusion. Following two private investigators who are searching for a missing college student. They break into his apartment and find a bank of television sets and VHS tapes. They begin to watch the tapes (each subsequent segment), and we are off to the races. A necessary conceit to the nature of horror anthology films, but the final portion of the segment has some genuine scares.

Verdant Dude rating: 2.5 out of 5 pumpkins

Phase I: Clinical Trials - A man is a test subject for an artificial eye implant after losing it in a car accident. Since this is a clinical trial, the doctor has set the artificial eye to record everything. The man begins to witness some paranormal shit almost immediately. It seems that this cyborg technology can enhance a person's senses when it comes to that sixth one. Kind of a cool concept, especially when a like-implanted busty young thing comes to visit him and explain the visions. Boobs.

Verdant Dude rating: 3 out of 5 pumpkins

A Ride in the Park - A man sets out for a ride on his mountain bike through the woods with cameras attached to the bike and his helmet to record the experience. He encounters a woman in distress and a shambling zombie horde. She turns and gets all bitey-bitey with him. Which, in turn, makes him all bitey-bitey. First person zombie action! A real interesting take on supposed zombie behavior. Loved it!

Verdant Dude rating: 4 out of 5 pumpkins

Safe Haven - An Indonesian news crew is investigating a local cult whose leader/Father has allegedly been sleeping with the children of the cult members as a part of its purity rituals. The woman in the news crew is engaged to one of the other members of the crew and pregnant with the child of another. Ruh-row. That baby and the news crew have something to do with fulfilling the cult's ultimate prophecy. Well-done and stylish, with several of the most brutal on-screen deaths I've ever seen filmed. The second half of this segment was bat-shit insane!

Verdant Dude rating: 5 out of 5 pumpkins

Slumber Party Alien Abduction - Filmed from the perspective of some young teenagers playing practical jokes on their older sister and her friends at a weekend sleepover at an isolated lake house. The hi-jinx are interrupted by an attack from some grey-skinned aliens with all the action being recorded by camera attached to the collar of the family terrier. And they are not of the friendly ET variety. Fox Mulder would have a field day with this footage. The truth is out there, but it's a bit more goofy than scary. Easily the weakest (and loudest) of the segments.

Verdant Dude rating: 2 out of 5 pumpkins

Overall, I'd say it was a slight upgrade to the first film. Both had their great and not-so-great segments. For me, the weakest segments in each film had to do with aliens. So let's leave those out of the third film okay directors? So let's see, if my math is correct, we are left with this:

Aggregate Verdant Dude rating: 3.3 out of 5 pumpkins

Update: A second viewing of the first film has made me realize that I kind of hated it. Extremely misogynistic and hateful. Too much with rapey-rapey guys and awful people you would never root for. Same can't be said of the second film. The idiot teens in the alien segment were bad, but not rape bad. So I would say BIG improvement over the first film. 

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