“One of the best films at the festival!”
In this superior sequel there are four segments of differing quality all linked by another senseless wraparound. In ‘Phase I Clinical Trials’, directed by You’re Next helmer, Adam Wingard, a man is fitted with a replacement eye that records his every move. The eye also enables him to see dead people, which is a mighty pain in the ass, as he soon discovers. ‘A Ride in the Park’ is a subjective zombie short with plenty of craziness and gore, and its denouement is somewhat bittersweet, suggesting that zombies do retain some sense of sentiment. ‘Safe Haven’ tells the story of a group of filmmakers investigating a bizarre cult in Indonesia. Led by Father (a great performance from Epy Kusnander), the children of the cult have been brainwashed, and the cult is revealed to be of the suicidal ilk. By far the best segment of the movie, ‘Safe Haven’ is creepy, claustrophobic, and action-packed, as expected from the director of the critically-acclaimed The Raid. The final segment, ‘Slumber Party Alien Abduction’, is exactly that. Over-reliant on loud noises to provide the jumps, this is perhaps the weakest of the bunch; I won’t even go into the wraparound. Still, there are enough gems in V/H/S 2 to entertain. Expect V/H/S 3 around this time next year.
The original V/H/S holds the unenviable position of being the only film I’ve almost walked out of. This is a lot better, although the wraparound segment here makes no sense either (these things aren’t that difficult to do, you know, chaps). Adam Wingard kicks things off with a corneal implant that allows him to see the dead, followed by a zombie story that manages to be both hilarious and touching. But it’s the third segment that puts this high on the list. Co-directed by Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid) and Timo Tjahjanto, it documents the final days of an Indonesian cult before the coming of its heralded master. This involves them all killing themselves, and the appearance of a huge scary demon thing. Believe me, this all looks even better than it sounds, and even Jason Eisener’s rather damp squib of an alien invasion segment at the end couldn’t stop this V/H/S 2 from being one of the best films at the festival.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
Directors: Simon Barrett, Gareth Evans, Jason Eisener, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sánchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard
Writers: Simon Barrett, Jamie Nash, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Evans, Jason Eisener, John Davies, Brad Miska, Eduardo Sánchez
Starring: Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsy Abbott, Adam Wingard
Running time: 96 minutes
FrightFest Screening: 23 August 2013
DVD release date: 14 October 2013
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