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Thursday, April 18, 2013

V/H/S/2 - Tribeca Film Festival Review

Magnolia Films
V/H/S/2 Review
2013, 96 minutes
Not Yet Rated

V/H/S/2 is one of the greatest horror films I've ever had the pleasure of viewing.  It is an anthology (usually a recipe for disaster, as they are uneven) that works on every level and is a thrill to watch from beginning to end.  Every one of the sections is good or great.  They are scary and funny as hell.

I will now review each section:

"Tape 49" (Dir. Simon Barrett) - This is the wraparound section of the film and it follows two people who investigate the disappearance of a missing student.  In his house, they find a collection of horrifying videotapes.  This section is needed, but is by far the weakest segment.  The acting is mediocre, but it is atmospheric and creepy.  It also has a wildly amusing opening, but a letdown of an ending that fortunately doesn't detract from the rest of the film.

"Clinical Trials" (Dir. Adam Wingard) - "Clinical Trials" is the first of the "videos" played and follows a man who receives a robotic eye as part of a clinical trial program and begins to see disturbing images. This is probably the creepiest of the four "video" segments, as it features traditional shock images accompanied with bizarre sound effects, while also featuring a good laugh or two.

"A Ride in the Park" (Dir. Greg Hale and Eduardo S├ínchez) - This is one of the more inventive (and funniest) of the segments, as it follows a guy in first person who gets turned into a zombie.  Getting to see a zombie horror-comedy segment from the first person was a unique idea and the directors make the most out of their premise.  It is gory and full of laughs.  "A Ride in the Park" was my favorite after the next one that I will discuss.

"Safe Haven" (Dir. Gareth Evans and Timo Tijajanto) - By far the best, the craziest, and the goriest of the segments of V/H/S/2, "Safe Haven" follows a group who tries to infiltrate a cult in Indonesia.  Evans and Tijajanto create the goriest spectacle they possibly can with this film.  It puts the new Evil Dead movie to shame.  In addition to being gory, it is hysterically bonkers.  This film seems to be the product of the directors letting their imaginations run wild.  It is insane in the same chaotic way that last year's The Cabin in the Woods was insane.  No one cares about ridiculousness and that is the best way to handle a segment like this.  By the time this short was over (it is the centerpiece and probably the longest), your gory horror needs will be filled.  "Safe Haven" was so gory that there are few feature-length films I can think of that rival it (and I have seen a lot).

"Alien Abduction Slumber Party" (Dir. Jason Eisner) - The title says it all.  Eisner's film starts off as a sort of '80s teen party movie, but turns into a bizarre alien invasion film.  And, it totally works.  This one has a distinct tonal line drawn through it.  The first half is funny, the second half is scary.  Eisner evokes the '80s slumber party movie vibe very well and handles the transition to an alien abduction movie well.

Overall, V/H/S/2 is one of the most thrilling experiences you're bound to have this year.  I was excited for each segment to come because they were consistently of excellent quality, either in terms of scares, laughs, or both.  I would highly recommend this movie.  If anything, you will have a memorably wacky night out at the movies.

Tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival screenings of this film can be bought here.

-Joshua Handler

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