Depending on your age, you may actually held one of these tapes in your hand. It’s possible you used one of these to record the V mini series or an episode of Hill Street Blues. We are talking 90’s version of the DVR. These blocks of plastic and film are the central prop in V/H/S 2; a sequel to V/H/S.
I despise most found footage movies. I’ve not been secretive about this. They are usually just an excuse for some film maker to do as little work as possible, by having someone swing a camera around, cussing a lot, and having them die (much too late, in my opinion). It’s like Samual L Jackson is pushed down a flight of steps holding a camcorder. They wrap a thin story around it and call it a “wrap.” There are a few; the mother of the found footage craze, Blair Witch, (good or bad) was a huge success and sparked more debate a christian homosexual trying to get an abortion through Obamacare. Well…maybe not. Yet, once people realized this stunt paid off, studios wanted in on that financial action and threw a camera in everyone’s hand. So there are a mountain of “found footage” films. Some are actually terrifying; Paranormal Activity 2, Home Movie or Troll Hunter. Most are pretty bad; The Devil Inside, St. Francisville Experiment, Paranormal Activity 4.
I watched V/H/S and was a fan, so checking out the follow-up was a no-brainer. It’s a film about private investigators hired to find a missing person. They break into an old house and find hundreds of VHS tapes, tv’s, and one laptop. Each tape that the investigators watch introduces short films done by various directors/writers, etc. I think it is a fun and clever idea.
Speaking of “no-brainers” and “clever”, one of the most original ideas for a zombie story came early on in the movie, titled “A Ride In The Park.” A cyclist is traveling through the woods with a helmet-cam on. He stops to help a hurt woman who turns out to be a zombie. For the rest of the film we watch our Asian Lance Armstrong transform into a zombie and spread the infection (all from his point of view). With a pretty standard plot that we’ve seen a million times, this one provides a genius perspective that is no less terrifying (perhaps even more so). The ending is…special.
One of the crowd favorites seems to be Safe Haven, which was good, though a bit over-the-top for me. It slipped in and out of creepiness, arriving at a cartoon-ish end. It’s a news crew that gets caught up in the antics of a cult (you know that is never good). The premise is great but the path is a bit all over the place. It felt like something that would have served better as a feature length.
Finally, I had some feelings about the segment Slumber Party Alien Abduction. It was very teen-ager driven, so the story and antics were a bit thin and typical. However, the action and the end were both sad and scary.
In the main story that we return to in between tapes, we are slowly seeing things build that the detectives are unaware of. The tapes serve a great purpose to the main story as it creates a cliffhanger effect after each short film.
I found it effectively scary, overall. The acting was mostly decent. I did not like the cleaner look of the footage due to the fact that it is called VHS 2 and the quality is way too good. Also, I like a good grainy horror movie…like I love good grainy bread. Mmmm…I’m hungry. Think I’ll go for a bike ride.