V/H/S/2 was miles better than the first film (which was one of the worst films I saw last year). I actually enjoyed all the "tales" this time around, although AGAIN none of the shorts actually appear to look like VHS... I have no problem that they are not shot on VHS, but if they are being played off of a VHS tape they better damn well look like VHS, and if widescreen should at least be letterboxed 4x3! It's an interesting format for an anthology, but it should be called P/O/V/2 instead of V/H/S/2 as virtually every story is either mainly or entirely shot from a first-person perspective. I'll try and review the "tapes" without any real spoilers, so here goes:
"Tape 49" (Wrap around segment) - Directed by Simon Barrett
The two private dicks are a lot less annoying than the idiot thieves from the first film, but it's still the weakest link of the stories and a rather disjointed wrap-around that's payoff is marred by the fact that if this wasn't broken up by the actual "tapes" it would have been a short loop with characters you don't care about what happens to them. 2/5
"Phase 1 Clinical Trials" - Directed by Adam Wingard
The director of the wrap-around from the first film opens the "tapes" with the story of a man with an injured eye (played by the director himself) who gets a new eye courtesy of a new technology where he's signed on as guinea pig. He can now see, but the catch is everything in his new camera eye is being recorded for data purposes and sent to the company. And it may have some glitches, such as being able to see ghosts. A few jump scares but not really inventive or engaging. 2.5/5
"A Ride in the Park" - Directed by Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sánchez
The producer and the director team up on this short, breezy "tape" involving a cyclist and his GoPro helmet camera as a leisurely morning bike ride has him encountering zombies. A refreshing dose of zombie carnage that's more rooted in black comedy than horror which pays off with its very interesting perspective. 3/5
"Safe Haven" - Directed by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto
A group of documentary filmmakers are granted access to the secured remote compound of a controversial and secretive Indonesian cult. The longest of the "tapes" and also by far the best, Safe Haven is an absolutely insane horror short that packs punch after punch that is gory, shocking, and expertly constructed. Evans and Tjahjanto manage to build characters, layer plot, and manage to both disturb and entertain. All the different camera perspectives work, and the outcome of its execution is a roller coaster that is probably the single-best "horror film" of the year so far. If this had some more room to breathe as a feature film this could indeed have been a modern horror masterpiece. 4/5
"Alien Abduction Slumber Party" - Directed by Jason Eisner
The title says it all. A group of kids with the house to themselves pull some slumber party pranks on each other, but in the middle of the night the prank is on them as a group of aliens decide to abduct them. The GoPro on the pet dog is an interesting perspective, but the strobing flashlights make things a little hard to see whereas instead of really seeing what is going on in the frenzy of the attacks we can only really piece things together from the sound design. It makes it chaotically intense, but not realistically sound. It's a touch too ADD filmmaking, although still a fun ride with some well placed laughs and jolts. 3/5
Overall, V/H/S/2 is a huge improvement over it's predecessor and pretty good overall, but it's still marred heavily by it's less-than-accurate title and portrayal of VHS. I'd be in for a third, but they really need to step away from the direct POV or "first-person-shooter" style of filmmaking. Somebody get these people a VHS camera and put it on their shoulder.
Last edited by MorallySound; 06-10-2013 at 08:01 PM.