I was pleasantly surprised by the first V/H/S movie. I’m normally not a fan of “found footage” style horror movies but V/H/S managed to be a fresh take on the genre and a fun little flick. Since it did very well, they decided to do a sequel and bring in some new directors for the segments—most notably, Timo Tjahjanto, the acclaimed director of The Raid. While this outing is definitely more gimmicky and cliché, it's still worth the rental for Tjahjanto's contribution alone.
The premise of the series is there are several short stories loosely tied together with a light back story. It's an anthology with a different director at the helm of each segment which provides some variety in styles. They employ lots of actual VHS tape style effects, such as compression artifacts and tracking. It’s very well done and adds a lot to the creepy atmosphere—I’m not sure if the younger generation will pick up on it as well not having been exposed to the idiosyncrasies of watching tapes in their youth. V/H/S/2 still does this but it’s not as prevalent as in the first movie. The back story that ties the mini stories together is much more contrived but luckily we don’t see too much of it.
This movie should really be called V/H/S/2: There’s a Camera Where Now? Since this supposed to be footage recorded onto a tape they have to find ways to incorporate the characters having camcorders and alternate ways for recording what’s going on and they don’t always do a great job of suspending your belief. There is one especially ridiculous character that has a camera and it resulted in me laughing my ass off throughout the entire scene instead of being scared, which was their intention. The stories are hit or miss with two exceptions: a zombie short with a first person perspective that is very clever and Timo Tjahanto’s short Safe Haven. Safe Haven is incredible and the best offering out of both films. It’s a better homage to Silent Hill than both of the actual Silent Hill movies! Most of the acting in V/H/S/2 is pretty bad but that’s usually par for the course in these types of films.
V/H/S/2 isn’t a masterpiece by any means but it’s worth a viewing just to see Safe Haven. I would say I liked it less than the first one overall because it failed to bring anything new to the series and falls short in most aspects.
-reviewed by Michelle Kisner