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18 Jun 2013

Home Video Review: Anthology 'V/H/S/2' Is a Rare 'Found Footage' Film That Works

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A scene from V/H/S/2. A scene from V/H/S/2.

Regular readers know that I am not a fan of the “found footage” movie, especially “found footage” horror films.

I HATE it when somebody is being chased by a monster or an evil cat or whatnot, and they manage to keep the film rolling. That’s crap! They would either drop that camera or use it as a weapon.

So I sat down to watch this one with a certain amount of dread—and not the sort of dread one is supposed to feel before a horror-film viewing. This is another found-footage thing, with two people playing creepy VHS tapes in a strange house.

Lo and behold, we actually have a found-footage movie that works for a change. It’s more of an anthology, with four segments nicely handled by four sets of directors.

Eduardo Sanchez, co-director of The Blair Witch Project (and, therefore, one of the people most responsible for the found-footage craze) does his best work yet in a segment in which a man goes for a bike ride in the forest. What Sanchez gives us is one of the best zombie scenarios in many years, one that’s equally revolting and funny. I expected very little from Sanchez, but I got some hardcore horror that I won’t soon forget.

Jason Eisener, director of the sick and fun Hobo With a Shotgun, offers a crazed alien-invasion segment involving hilariously bad costumes and sloppy lighting that somehow works—and winds up being effectively nightmarish. His scenario involves a slumber party that goes wrong; we see much of the action from a camera strapped to a dog’s head.

Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption) comes up with the film’s sickest segment, involving a cult and a truly disgusting birth. There’s an energy to his piece that is hard to describe—and hard to erase from one's head.

The least effective segment, a short film involving a man with an eye implant, is the weakest, yet it’s still pretty good.

I never did see the first V/H/S. After seeing its sequel, I’m definitely going to check that one out.

V/H/S/2 is available on demand, on iTunes and via other Internet venues, including Amazon.com.

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