A private investigator and his girlfriend stumble onto a
cache of mysterious videotapes, some of which are horrifying.
Directed by Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans,
Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sánchez, Jason Eisener, Timo Tjahjanto
Written by Simon Barrett, Jamie Nash, Timo Tjahjanto,
Gareth Evans, Jason Eisener, John Davies
Starring Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsy Abbott, Adam Wingard, Hannah Hughes, Jay Saunders, Fachry Albar, Hannah Al Rashid,
Oka Antara, Epy Kusnandar, Rylan Logan, Samantha Gracie
Sequel to 2012's V/H/S
V/H/S 2 ups the ante substantially from the first one, delivering some of the most disturbing visuals of 2010's horror and one of the most consistently good anthology films that I've seen. Even the frame story mostly succeeds in capturing the audience's attention, though once again it introduces more questions than answers. This time, we've got ghosts, zombies, aliens, and a demonic cult. And most of them stick the landing.
Our frame story, "Tape 49," sees a private eye and his girlfriend investigating the disappearance of a teenager. At his house, they find stacks of videotapes, each one more disturbing than the other. The first story, "Phase I Clinical Trials," follows a guy who gets experimental eye surgery after an accident. But the implant suddenly gives him the ability to see and experience ghosts, and shit gets wild. The second story, "A Ride in the Park," was for me, the least exciting of the bunch. A biker is bitten by a zombie in the park, turns, and starts killing people at a birthday party. We see it all through his GoPro. Granted, there's not much to do with found footage zombies, but I'd hoped for something more.
The third story is by far the craziest. "Safe Haven" follows a documentary crew investigating the actions of an Indonesian cult compound. They end up as prisoners, then victims of the mass suicide that's done to summon a powerful demon. I'd love a full-length film version of this story. It's bonkers, terrifying, unpredictable, and just plain wacky. The final story, "Slumber Party Alien Abduction," starts out super scary, with an alien being spotted under the lake. Then, they take to the skies and start abducting a teenage girl, her brother, and his dumb friends. Not bad, but probably should've been swapped with "Safe Haven." Better one to end with.
V/H/S 2 is an improvement on the first film, and stands as my personal favorite of the franchise so far, though I'm hoping that changes with V/H/S/94. Mostly, I'm just very impressed with "Safe Haven," but the other stories aren't slouches. I think this franchise is becoming the gold standard for anthology horror movies. Ignore V/H/S: Viral, and that statement rings true.