Guest Review: 'V/H/S/2'

Editor's Note: Contributing writer Josh Bravo was fortunate enough to catch an early screening of V/H/S/2 (formerly known as S-V/H/S) at this year's Florida Film Festival. Check out his review below (and hopefully I'll have my own review up within the month).- Heather

Review By: Josh Bravo

Last year's V/H/S worked very well. It was an anthology horror film going the Four Rooms route by having a different filmmaker for each segment. It really is begging to have a plethora of sequels - just get new filmmakers every time around. I don't know if that will be the case but the fact of the matter is that it did produce a sequel that will be out this Summer. It's a shame Magnolia decided to change the title from S-V/H/S to V/H/S/2. If the original title was kept, then the third entry could appropriately be called Betamax. But let's not get away from the point. 

V/H/S/2 brings in Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun), Gareth Evans (The Raid), Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale (The Blair Witch Project), and the return of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (You're Next). If you saw the first film, you know how this one works - a wraparound, four segments, and then conclusion of the wraparound. Pretty basic and a lot of room to be creative. 

After the mediocre opening, we jump into the segments, starting with Wingard's less-than-stellar preamble. A man gets a cyborg eye implant which allows him to see the the undead. Other than having fun with the first person perspective, it really felt bland. It is a series of jump-scares that ultimately go nowhere. There's also plenty of humor throughout but it doesn't really help or hurt it. It just kind of exists then moves on. Still, it's a great idea and I think some people will really dig it. 

I'm a big fan of The Blair Witch Project and was ecstatic to see Eduardo and Hale's entry. Without giving anything way, it is a first-person zombie film set in the woods. That's. About. It. You almost have to credit these guys for popularizing the found footage craze but this one really didn't showcase their talents in constructing horror. It's gory, it's fun, but again, it doesn't do anything. It feels like something that a newcomer to zombie cinema would enjoy but if you're not part of that group, don't expect much. It does have one thing going for it though - it's better than all three seasons of The Walking Dead

Now we get into the apex of V/H/S/2. The creme de la creme. Something better than anything in V/H/S and V/H/S/2. As a matter of fact, the only egregious thing I have to say about this movie is how it was simply a short. This needs to be a feature film. Directed by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto, this segment is about a group of reporters who are investigating a bizarre cult leader in Indonesia. What could go wrong? They're interviewing him in a restaurant. Oh, their going to finish the interview at his compound? Oh fuck. And so, the catalyst for the rest of the short. 


Listen to what I'm about to tell you - this is one of the most insane, disturbing, creepy, amazing shorts I have ever seen. It does everything right. You feel for these characters and are legitimately scared for them. It's a flawless film that speaks volumes of the talents these two have. If you haven't seen The Raid, go see it. If you haven't seen Macabre, go see it. This segment is deserving of being the longest of the four and will force you to want more. This is the definition of a must-see. I won't spoil a thing but when shit hits the fan and you think you've seen it all, in the immortal words of Al Jolson, "You ain't seen nothing yet." 

The last short is directed by Jason Eisner and it has made me a fan at last. I didn't particularly like Hobo With a Shotgun or his segment for The ABC's of Death but I'm sold on him with this. A group of kids at a slumber party capture a crazy alien invasion on camera. Easily the funniest of the four, it really feels like an 80s kids movie on cocaine. Think The Monster Squad meets Alien. Or, a fucked up version of Attack the Block. There are incredible practical effects, real alien suits, lights, smoke machines and inventive camera work. Since your jaw will be on the floor from the last segment, just keep it down there during this one. It'll save you some time. 

Although the first two segments are blah, I implore you to please watch V/H/S/2 for the last two segments. They make this sequel better than the first. I think it goes without saying that you need to watch this with a packed theater or invite a bunch of friends over. Like I mentioned earlier, these films can explore a lot of different aspects of terror, which will hopefully attract more veteran directors of horror to try their hand at scaring you. 

(But 5 out of 5 for the last two shorts!)

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