Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The Same Thing
One of the horror films that made rounds last year was V/H/S. Regardless of how good or bad the film was, it succeeded in bringing something new to the table that hasn’t really been seen before in the horror genre. First of all, while it was considered found-footage, it was done in a specific manner…through the use of VHS tapes, or at least that was the claim. Then, the whole thing worked as a collection of short films which complimented an overall story, much like Movie 43, and each with their own respected storyline and method of filming….again like Movie 43. In a lot of ways, the V/H/S series is just…practically the horror version of Movie 43, only the horror film came out before the comedy. For those of you that aren’t aware, V/H/S/2 was released worldwide OnDemand for those of you that prefer digital copies.
As expected, V/H/S/2 follows the exact same pattern as the first film, which is at least good news for a sequel. The only difference in the entire thing is different VHS tapes and a different overall story that is quite honestly not all that different. In the first film, the overall story had to do with a group of people searching for a specific VHS tape among countless others, and as they search they find other unexplainable and horrifying tapes. This film had more to do with private investigators who were hired with the task of finding a missing boy, and it’s their search that leads them to the same house in the first one, and they begin watching the tapes for clues to find the boy.
As for the short films introduced the second time around, there were four short films that accompanied the story about the private investigators. The first story revolved around a man that was in a car accident and had to install a camera as his lost eye while his uninjured eye healed. The camera-as-an-eye was able to pick up on separate frequencies that allowed him to see ghosts and for the ghosts to see/interact with him. The second story revolved around a biker that finds himself trapped in a zombie apocalypse, and after he is turned, we watch as the camera attached to his biker’s helmet follows around his zombified form. The third story focused on a team of journalists following a story about a cult claiming they are god. The final story had to do with kids that run into an alien invasion while a camera was attached to their dog.
One positive that the original film had over this one is the title of V/H/S. They were able to implement the feeling of a VHS film to actual VHS camcorders. There was not a single VHS camcorder used in this film, yet (at least for the private investigator section) they continued the look and feel of VHS. Also, I find it very important to state that no VHS is widescreen…so there is no reason for these short films to be in this aspect ratio apart from trying to please the audience. In case you forgot, some modern movies use the full-frame format to feel more classic, like The Artist, and there was nothing wrong with that. So the way things looked was not really impressive, as you could tell it was not accurate if you have only the slightest knowledge in things dealing with home video.
Next, there was a lot of technical effects used in this movie and almost no visual effects. For a lot of other films, that is actually a very smart move, but it didn’t seem to fit so well this time around. We are dealing with horror, so we are also dealing with the paranormal. It is very hard to pull of paranormal without using computer graphics. It makes sense with zombies and ghosts because that is just people with makeup, but aliens shouldn’t just be people in cheap costumes…it looks bad.
You have to admit that the writing was a little better done, and the acting was also done better, but not by a whole lot. Whoever is working on the writing for these projects is clearly creative. These are all found-footage short films, but the way the camera is implemented and what happens in the short is typically unique. Not all of them are scary either. The only way you can really get frightened from watching the movie is by watching it at night with the lights off, otherwise you’re bound to laugh at it the whole way through.
The thing is, it doesn’t even matter if you watch the first or second film first. The two aren’t even connected past the identical plot and setting. It is practically the same movie, just done a little differently. Generally speaking, that’s not so off from any other horror film sequel, so you can’t really discredit it for that. If the original was your type of horror film, then this is the movie for you. If not, it’s not a big deal if you skip it.
V/H/S/2 came to digital downloads everywhere on Jun 6, so check it out! Or you can wait until the theatrical release next month.