Friday, October 04, 2013

31 DAYS OF FRIGHT: It's Anthology Flick Friday With V/H/S/2

I neither loved nor hated 2012's V/H/S, the analog-inspired, found footage horror anthology which featured segments from such rising stars in the film world as Adam Wingard (YOU'RE NEXT), Ti West (the underrated CABIN FEVER 2) and Joe Swanberg (DRINKING BUDDIES). A bit long, frequently predictable and a tad too hit or miss – admittedly a trait of any anthology effort – I still had to give the flick props for presenting such a grab bag of genres and for pulling off a few unexpected and effective chills.

Naturally, the flick's success inspired a second round of found footage fun collected in V/H/S/2, out now from Magnet, and the result is similarly schizophrenic though not nearly as inventive.

Thankfully swapping out the original's nihilistic assholes for a cheap private dick with worn shoes and holes in his pants, the wraparound story is much more straightforward – and even more disposable – this time around. Hired by a concerned mom, the detective and his assistant break into the house of a college student only to find a bank of televisions, a fresh drop of blood and a bunch of VHS tapes. Sorting through the piles and pressing the pair bring us a quartet of tales...

The first two segments – 'Phase I Clinical Trials' (directed by the returning Adam Wingard) and 'A Ride in the Park' (from BLAIR WITCH PROJECT vets Eduardo Sanchez and Greg Hale) – suffer from being far too predictable for all but the most neophyte horror viewer.  The tales of sensory implants and zombies, respectively, never veer beyond what you would expect and really left me hoping I wasn't wasting my time.

Luckily, the flick rebounds impressively with its final two installments – one from an unexpected source. Not surprisingly, 'Safe Haven' from directors Timo Tjahjanto (ABCs OF DEATH, MACABRE and the upcoming THE NIGHT COMES FOR US) and Gareth Huw Evans (the goddamn RAID: REDEMPTION) is the highlight of the flick, solidly weaving a tale of a killer cults, love triangles, accelerated gestation and, well, a demon baby. Grimy, gritty and sick on a number of levels, 'Safe Haven' begs to be fleshed out into feature.

I could say the same for Jason Eisner's 'Slumber Party Alien Abduction', which surprises the hell out of me. Despite much love for it from genre fans I loathed his HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and was sorta dreading what he would bring to the V/H/S/2 table. Who knew the Canuxploitationer was capable of delivering such a madcap tale of horny dudes, hot sisters, adolescent tomfoolery and alien abduction?!

So there you have it. Two predictable tales you can have on in the background and two solid entries you'll want to pay attention to. With its streamlined running time and .500 average (I won't hold the wraparound tale against them) V/H/S/2 is certainly worth grabbing, especially at this time of year.

V/H/S/2 is available from Amazon.

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