The shorts offer a broad range from amusing and introspective zombies to ultra intense satanic cults.
Review by David Feltman
Bringing together a new batch of talented directors (including the directors of “The Blair Witch Project” and “The Raid: Redemption”), Bloody Disgusting and The Collective add another chapter to their found footage anthology without falling into the pitfalls of tired gimmicks and lazy sequels. To be clear, the found footage premise is a tired gimmick. It was a tired gimmick when the original “V/H/S” was released. But instead of letting that be the anchor that sinks the project, the filmmakers involved utilize the limitation to force themselves to be more imaginative in their storytelling.
The shorts offer a broad range from the amusing and introspective zombies of “A Ride in the Park” to the ultra intense satanic cult of “Safe Haven.” The anti-misogynistic motif of the first film has been replaced with a reoccurring theme of invasions, adding a little extra glue to the project. The wrap around piece “Tape 49” is ultimately as implausible and unnecessary as the original wrap around but it’s unobtrusive and boasts some exceptional gore effects.
While some of the camera pretexts, like a robot camera eye, are forced, the immersive first person POV and the inventive camera placements make such contrivances excusable. The “Safe Haven” segment has a group of documentarians using pinhole cameras to snoop around, which may sound unimaginative, but when that conceit allows for a fantastic two camera shot during a tense and terrifying birthing scene, such small gripes disappear.
The original “V/H/S” loaded its segments from longest to shortest, using the quickening pace to build momentum. The sequel inverts this formula as a clever way to build suspense, with the final two shorts leaving you squirming in anticipation of the pay off. This is the rare sequel that never loses sight of what made the original enjoyable, while consistently improving on the formula.