V/H/S 2 (2013)

The first V/H/S film took a lot of unnecessary shit from critics and horror fans alike. A lot of the shit came from the fact it was conceived and produced by  Bloody Disgustings head honcho, Brad Miska. Brad, having (probably) the worlds #1 horror site used it to promote the film (gasp!), like any red blooded American would. Folks had issues with this, I have issues with folks, so it's even. Perceived conflicts of interest aside, V/H/S was an uneven effort (review here), with a couple great shorts ("The Sick Thing That Happened..." and "10/31/98"), and some very questionable ones ("Tuesday The 17th.") There was enough good though to get some folks interested in a second set of shorts, hence V/H/S 2 (originally called S-V/H/S, a far superior title and subject of a Nomenclature Bullshit article.)

Our wraparound segments this time (and yes, this time they do actually wrap around) follow two private investigators who are trying to find one of the kids from the first films wrap around segments. Breaking into our familiar creepy house, Larry breaks off to investigate the house, while Ayesha, his way too good looking for him girlfriend, discovers the "tape room" and starts watching.

The first segment, "Phase 1 Clinical Trials," is directed by and stars Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, the upcoming You're Next). Wingard is Herman a man who receives for all intents and purposes a bionic eye that leads to him seeing more than anyone can imagine. The segment is well directed and acted, but feels a bit rushed, which can be par for the course for shorts. There are some legit jump scares and the premise is solid. This is the segment that cause Rex Reed to get his panties all in a bunch and walk out of the film. All I can say is "Fuck you Rex Reed." "Phase 1 Clinical Trials" is a solid, if not spectacular way to kick off the film.

The Blair Witch Projects Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale present our second entry "A Ride In The Park." You would think these two wold know a little something about hand held horror, having basically invented the genre, and you would be right. What starts out as a leisurely bike ride through the woods, quickly becomes reason #264 not to ever leave the house, when our biker stops to play good Samaritan to an injured hiker. Fast paced and gory, "A Ride In The Park" not only takes the typical zombie tale and turns it on it's ear, it does so with an ending that has so much heart, if you don't feel something, you may be dead inside. A great segment that easily surpasses anything from the first film and would be the best from this film if it wasn't for...

"Safe Haven" is one of the best horror shorts I've ever seen. It stands up to anything from Creepshow, or The Twilight Zone film or any other iconic horror anthology you can think of. written and directed by the team behind The Raid, "Safe Haven" may be the longest segment of the anthology, but it's the only one that really makes you want more. Part crazy cult leader film, part creature feature, part zombie film, "Safe Haven" is wondrous. I would murder a small child (not really) to see a full length film based on the short here. It's slow to start and yes, you have to read some subtitles, but damn does the payoff make it worth the wait and effort. If you check out V/H/S 2 for nothing else, make sure it's to see "Safe Haven" it's worth it!

The fourth and final segment from V/H/S 2 comes to us from Hobo With A Shotguns' Jason Eisener. It is a very good segment that does feel as kind of a let down after the two segments that preceded it, but really almost anything would. "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" is really the best way to describe what the film is all about. When parents are away, aliens come and fuck with your kids. So if you are a parent, remember that...and the fact that thee will be some dude sticking it to your teenage daughter before you even make it to the highway. Certainly more playful and light hearted than anything else in the film, "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" is a fun way to end the anthology portion of the film.

The wrap around segments (there are short bits between each of the proper segments) conclude with out protagonists watching the final tape and leaving quietly. Just kidding. You can probably figure out that it's not going to end well for our intrepid investigators. You'd be right. It's just as creepy as the rest of the film and fits the context better than the wrap arounds from the first film.

With an all time great segment a tremendous entry from Hale and Sanchez and two really good entries to bookend the deal, V/H/S 2 stands head and shoulders above it's uneven predecessor. Kudos to the folks behind this for giving young filmmakers the opportunity to showcase what they do best - make films.

V/H/S 2 is currently available on VOD and in certain theaters on a limited theatrical run. Check it out.

**** and 1/4 our of *****

As Always - Thanks for reading!
"Enjoy Every Sandwich."

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