The Summer movie season is never complete without at least a few Horror movies. V/H/S/2 is the sequel to V/H/S which came out last year and was a fairly fresh and solid entry to the found footage Horror genre. V/H/S/2 takes the same formula as V/H/S and adds more blood, gore, and bizarre stories. Found footage has grown fairly tiresome but I still enjoy it more than most. I firmly believe that The Blair Witch Project, which created the genre, is one of the best Horror movies of all time (Watch it in the woods on a camping trip). That director (Eduardo Sanchez) actually directed the second short story in this movie! The key to making a found footage Horror movie is bringing some creativity and keeping the story fresh. V/H/S/2 delivers that for the most part.
As for the setup story, we have two private detectives who are hired to find a college student and they stumble across a house that may lead to his whereabouts. Inside is a computer and they watch 4 different short horror videos to try to get information that could lead to the student. We watch these 4 stories along with them while they are dealing with another subplot inside the house. The plot is nearly the same as the first but it feels like a much more complete movie. V/H/S felt too long and convoluted and the different short videos were hit or miss in quality. While more crazy fun, V/H/S/2 also has a bit of an identity issue because the premise and every short feels so distant from the others. When I think about this movie I’ll be thinking about the shorts separately because they’re so unique and different from each other. The whole thing is essentially just a setup so we can see different directors short stories. 1 of them shines while the other 3 are just enjoyable enough in their own ways that together as a whole they can justify watching the whole thing. The acting and characters are good and bad depending on the short but the standout performance is easily the villain in the third short. If you can take the movie for what it is then you’ll have some fun with it.
V/H/S/2 gets right to the point and delivers some really fun and inventive short stories. The shorts that we get to see all take on their own crazy style within different niches of the Horror genre. One short involves a guy that has a prosthetic eye that records everything. It delves into the supernatural. This short builds some nice tension and has some genuinely freaky jump scares. This short actually scared me the most but it ends up fizzling out towards the end. Another short is a first person account of a zombie and the mayhem that ensues. This short is incredibly gory and makes great use of effects. I had a lot of fun watching this one because it’s a super intense and interesting look at the zombie genre (nearly better than all of World War Z). I don’t want to spoil much but the best is definitely the third one called Safe Haven, which is directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid). It involves a religious cult and is easily the most insane and bizarre. A few times I said “WTF is going on! No way!” I really wish they had ended with this because it’s clearly the high point and makes the whole movie worth watching. The fourth short is definitely the weakest. It’s about a group of kids at a slumber party who have some interesting visitors. There’s some solid effects and slight tension but mostly just feels like a wasted opportunity. With just 4 different short stories, the movie never drags on for too long. Each short has something fresh and different from the previous.
While these shorts are fun and fresh, they are not entirely scary. They definitely are inventive and entertaining but only 2 of them made me genuinely scared. They all represent the horror genre well in their own way. Most of the time I was cheering or smiling because you can tell these guys had so much fun making these shorts. Don’t expect to be curled up in a ball screaming the whole time as you watch this. This movie is just pure horror fun. We get a lot of gore and bizarrely awesome scary stories. The two private detectives story is really the weakest link but it doesn’t take up so much time that it drags the whole movie down with it. V/H/S/2 is a more complete and creative movie than the first. It’s sometimes scary and tense, and other times so odd that it becomes an almost clever spoof of itself. If you’re a Horror fan then you’ll definitely appreciate this movie. You can get it On Demand now or wait until July 12th in Theaters. I’d recommend watching it alone in your basement or have some buddies over for a fun Horror event. My ranking of the different shorts from best to worst would be 3, 2, 1, 4.