A movie I was well-excited for, “V/H/S/2”, made its Canadian premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival this past weekend. While some did not enjoy the first “V/H/S”, I for one very much appreciate the found footage genre and enjoyed the first installment, and savoured the second one even more.
For those unaware of the “V/H/S” style, it is a horror anthology regrouping short movies from different directors with one main story in between the other VHS tapes. The main story in “V/H/S/2” follows two private investigators who have been asked to get some information from a woman’s son who has not contacted her for over a week, even if it means to break into his house and film everything they find to secretly get information concerning the missing son. While in the house, they stumble across some open television screens (much like in the first movie), surrounded by VHS tapes. The female investigator decides to view the tapes, and so “V/H/S/2” officially begins.
The first clip, entitled “Clinical Trials Phase 1”, from Adam Wingard (also directed a segment in the first “V/H/S” movie; “You’re Next”, presented later this summer in the Fantasia Festival; and the segment “ ‘Q’ is for Quack” in “The ABCs of Death”), sees a young man recuperate from a car accident where he lost sight by having a cybernetic eye implanted in his orbital hole where one of his eyes used to be. Being a trial and having done the surgery for free, the company requests a constant recording from the said-eye. Despite having recovered one of the five very important senses, he seems to have gained a sixth, now being able to see ghosts of the dead who are menacingly haunting him.
Eduardo Sanchez (“The Blair Witch Project”) brings to us “A Ride in the Park”, where a fellow goes to try out his mountain bike, equipped with a camera atop his helmet. In the midst of his forestry adventure, he comes across a distressed woman, stained in blood and desperate for help. The woman begins to vomit blood while our protagonist is distracted by oncoming, stumbling individuals, and before he knows it, the woman whom had once seemed a victim is now a threat, pouncing on him and biting him at the throat. Our young man slowly begins to turn into the living dead as well, and we get the first-person point of view of a zombie having rapidly turned. Not the scariest of the segments of “V/H/S/2”, but very original, and as a zombie-lover, it sure is my favourite.
“Safe Haven” is next, coming straight from Indonesia from director Timo Tjahjanto (“The Raid”). A group of journalists, equipped with visible and hidden camera, is exclusively permitted to penetrate the walls of a secluded cult to get some insight on what seems like a peculiar sect. However, they realize that the supernatural is very well present with this cult and unfortunately, it is too late for them to turn back.
Jason Eisener (“Hobo with a Shotgun”) brings us the final installment; “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”. When teens and kids are home alone, everyone is playing pranks on each other. One involves attaching a camera to their little dog that creeps up on one of the boys. However, this camera-prank will prove to be more than filming a funny joke; it will be the recording witness of an out-of-this-world experience as the title says it all. Terrifying and persistent aliens will stop at nothing to take away these humans to their spaceship.
“V/H/S/2” packs many jumps and scares, despite having one less segment than its predecessor. All 4 clips concern different types of horror: ghosts, zombies, cult/supernatural, and aliens, so most people get their fair share of what they’re into. If you didn’t like the first “V/H/S”, you probably won’t be a fan of the second one either. But if you enjoyed the first film, you most probably will have a blast with the second one as well.
A horror anthology from some pretty good directors means that you’ll most probably always be on the edge of your seat, since, being short stories; it doesn’t take long before you’re quickly startled and shocked.
“V/H/S/2” deserves 4 stars out of 5.