Tuesday, July 26, 2016

V/H/S 2 - the £1 DVD review

Heya



I know, look you see, that I am somewhat late to this party. V/H/S 2 is some three years old now, which in modern terms is like totes ancient I suppose. However, it’s only now that Poundland has made the DVD available, hence me owning and watching it. Also, about a week or so ago it was reported that the last ever VHS machines had rolled off the production line, so the hipsters and other assorted vermin will be all over anything connected to that legendary form of home entertainment.

My memories of V/H/S was that it was mostly good. I will have a look and see if I can link to my review of it here, but off the top of my head I think I was pretty OK with it. Certainly time has been good to memories; I thought that it was boss enough to spring a whole ₤1 on the sequel when I spotted it.

A quick, spoiler free review? Certainly. In many respects this bucks the trend of sequels – in particular horror ones – being weaker. I’m not 100% sure it’s better as such, but certainly the equal of it. The linking parts between the VHS tapes watched were certainly a step up from the original. Basically, four very good “found footage” horror jolt short movies, then, with a reasonable amount of nudies and a most splendid amount of graphic violence.

Be warned, then, that *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** are ahead here. I will do my best to limit them, in particular via editing one of the segment titles.

Plot? Well, it starts off with a shady, seedy (is there really any other kind?) sort of private detective being called in to investigate the apparent disappearance of a college student. The detective and his lady assistant break into his place and discover piles of VHS tapes. As the shady private detective has to go and do all sorts of detective things, the assistant starts watching the curiously labelled tapes at random.

We watch the tapes as she watches the tapes, so it’s probably going to work best if I go right ahead and go through each one of them.

PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS : A chap called Herman gets a fancy bionic eye installed after losing his regular eye in a car crash. A condition of this new technology is that it can record what he sees for the benefit of those who put this new technology in, so they can ostensibly monitor the performance.

Herman starts seeing “things”. A fellow patient, who had something else biological installed, seeks him out to explain what’s going on, and what he can do about it..

It’s a little pedestrian and predictable, but this segment really made me jump some. One really stomach turning scene, no excessive violence and one lovely nudies scene.

A RIDE IN THE PARK : Mike goes for a bike ride in the park, with the obligatory camera attached to his head. As he rides a lady in some distress approaches him. Wouldn’t you know, she’s somehow transformed into a zombie. And she bites Mike…..

This is, frankly, brilliant. It’s that thing that no longer seemed possible or likely – a fresh, original and thoroughly entertaining take on presenting a zombie story. Also very harrowing and disturbing viewing.

No nudies and a lot of hectic violence in it, overall I would say this was my most favourite section.



SAFE HAVEN : A news and/or documentary crew (seemingly in Japan or somewhere Asian) have negotiated unprecedented access to a “doomsday cult” compound, with the bonus of getting an interview with the cult leader. As secrets and lies unravel about each member of the crew, the cult leader gets all erratic and somewhat bizarre, and then some very strange things start to happen….

I really enjoyed this one too. A particular highlight was the mental manic cult leader. Every now and then you get a sense that it’s all going to be predictable, but it has quite a knack for turning in different directions.

No nudies of consequence that I can recall, but do be warned – this one most decidedly is not for the squeamish. There’s some brutal, graphic and quite disturbing violent imagery on the go in this one. Which, in fairness, you want from a horror film.

SLUMBER PARTY : It starts off with a couple going away on holiday, leaving their children home alone. The parental wish expressed is for the kids to all just get along fine and behave. This of course does not happen, and pranks aplenty go on between brother and sister and their friends. The pranks increase in intensity, and are on the verge of getting well out of hand when all of a sudden someone or something else arrives…..

I want to link this to some reviews I did earlier this year, but it would rather spoil any surprise element for you. There’s some really awesome sound and vision effects in this one. Does it scare or shock? Not really, alas. A bit of discomfort, but it just lacks the punch of the first three.

Some nudies but you can’t really see or make out much, and minimal violence. The tactic here is to shock, and it sort of does that a little.

So yeah, overall a really good, solid 90 minute “found footage” film. I know that “found footage” is all the rage these days, but like the original film V/H/S 2 seems to do it that bit better than others.

The magic of VHS, then. Getting your hands on a tape, in particular an unmarked one that had stuff recorded on it, was exciting. You had to load it up, play it and fast forward it to see what was on it. You don’t get that with DVD, Blu Ray or digital files – no mystery, just load it onto a PC and skim through it within seconds.

Would I recommend V/H/S 2 to the general public? Not really. Horror film fans, and those with a high tolerance threshold that are interested in some really creative and inventive storytelling, oh yes. I’d have thought, however, that pretty much anyone who wanted to watch this has done so at some stage over the last three years. Then again, I hadn’t, so you never know.

As ever, hopefully this has been of some interest or use to someone out there Yes, I will get around to watching all these unwatched modern classics that I have sat here, but what can I say, I can’t resist having a gander at films like this as and when Poundland have them on the shelf.




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