REVIEW: V/H/S 2 (2013)



V/H/S 2: B+

Although I’m the resident found-footage expert at Bloodcrypt, I let Bloodcrypt Keeper have a go at reviewing the original V/H/S because I was busy buttfucking a hobo.  He did ok, though.  Although I probably would’ve gone B-/C+ with the first installment, I couldn’t quibble too much with his assessment of the film’s vignettes.

Usually, when a sequel comes out within a year of its predecessor, it’s a rushed hack job, intended to capitalize on the success of the previous installment (lookin’ at you, Saw franchise).  V/H/S 2 actually improves on the formula it established.  First of all, the narrative arc binding together the found footage on the tapes is more intelligent and scarier than the first movie.  A private investigator and his partner are investigating a teen’s disappearance and enter a seemingly abandoned house with a bunch of computers and vhs tapes.

The original had five mini-movies; this one opts for quality over quantity with four.  The characters in the film sit down to watch them, and just as before, they’re a mixed bag.  But a better mix this time: more peanuts and cashews, and fewer almonds.  Almonds suck.

The first short is about a dude who has ocular surgery due to losing his sight in an accident, and a permanently-running camera implanted in his eye documents his every waking move (cleverly sidestepping the found-footage Achilles heel of “why are you still filming this?”).  He starts seeing creepy dead people, and this chick who saw him at the hospital comes over and tells him she had an ear implant (cokeular?…cochlear?…cockular?) and sees the same fucked up shit he does.  She tells him not to pay attention to them and then strips off her shirt and rides him, beautiful breasts bouncing.  Some other stuff happens after that, but that’s the high point.  Anyway, pretty good: B(oobs)

The second vignette puts a unique spin on the current zombie craze.  It’s shot almost entirely from the p.o.v. of a mountain biker’s  “Go Pro”-style helmet cam.  He runs into a bleeding woman in the woods, stops to help, and whoops!  He’s a zombie.  A zombie with a helmet cam.  He and other fellow zombies attack hikers/bikers and then a kid’s birthday party.  Flesh-eating ensues, but from an original perspective: B+

In the third clip, shit gets bananas.  A t.v. news crew goes to Indonesia to do an exposé on a cult with one of those charismatic leader types.  It’s got an underground bunker, classrooms full of creepy kids getting indoctrinated, and, of course, mass suicide.  It’s completely bonkers in the best way, and the climax is splendid, when the thing the cult has been worshipping manifests and brings doom.  Fucking phenomenal: A

The final story is about some clichéd-looking aliens who invade a slumber party.  It suffers from the usual “why are you still filming this?” problem much more than the other vignettes.  I have no idea why the filmmakers chose to end with this relative dud, but it robs the movie of a lot of its momentum.  It’s still better than the worst stuff in the first V/H/S, but I would’ve put it earlier to get it out of the way: C

According to the main plotline, though, watching the tapes in a certain order is imperative, so maybe the worst one HAD to be last, I dunno.  At any rate, this franchise is starting to earn some serious horror street cred.  Who knew old tapes could be so scary?  Well, other than the ‘90s hairstyles (both above and below) from those old pornos I can’t seem to let go of…

REVIEW: V/H/S (2012)


V/H/S: B

I’m usually not into found footage movies, but this one was incredibly charming and had a clever design. The film manages to use the found footage model to engage one of my favorite types of horror movies: The Creepshow/Tales from the Crypt frame narrative.

Instead of a Crypt Keeper or a comic book, the outer frame of the story involves three criminally pathetic hipster-misfits who like to engage in Clockwork Orange type behavior like smashing stuff and terrorizing women, which they also film so they can LOL about it later. They are hired to break into some old guy’s house to steal a rare VHS tape. When they get there, the dude is dead, rotting in front of an obelisk of static filled televisions and a mound of VHS tapes. The hipsters decide to watch the tapes and each one is a miniature found footage horror movie. I thought that shit was clever! In between each tape, creepy shit starts happening at the house and it escalates to a tasty climax after they view the last tape.

Tape 1 is about three super irritating frat-type bros who get fucked up by a vampire/succubus after a long and annoying night of partying. They drink their faces off, snort some blow, and take some babes back to their hotel room. Man, after like 20 minutes of a seemingly pointless bro-odyssey through the annals of the dive bar scene, it is so much fun to watch them get maimed/eaten. The girl who plays the monster does a great job. With minimal effects and delicious gore, this was my favorite vignette.

Tape 2 sucks. It’s about a couple who go on their boring 2nd honeymoon only to be stalked/molested by a mysterious and also boring switchblade wielding woman in between their boring bickering and yawn-inspiring escapades. Really anti-climactic. Oh, and boring.

Tape 3 is about some buddies who decide to go camping in the woods. They didn’t decide to get murdered by a fucking specter, but that’s not typically something one gets to decide. There’s some funny gore and typical irresponsible teen behavior in the forest a la Friday the 13th. One girl almost pulls off a Schwarzenegger from Predator as she slows down the antagonist with booby traps. The ending is pretty cool.

Tape 4 is about a woman who has a strange bump on her wrist that shows up about the same time a tribe of midgets starts haunting her house. Instead of a camcorder, this footage is found from her Skype convos with her BF, who strangely doesn’t seem to like her investigating the midget phenomena. This tape ends with a “twist” that you sort of see coming, but I’ll bet you can’t guess the specifics.

Finally, Tape 5 follows some friends who go to a Halloween party only to be terrorized by a bunch of poltergeists. Meh. It’s okay.

I heard they are already making a sequel. I hope they call it L/A/S/E/R/D/I/S/C.