V/H/S/2 Blu-ray Review
V/H/S/2, like its predecessor, 2012’s V/H/S, combines two popular subgenres of the horror game: the anthology and the found-footage movies.
The movie is framed around two private investigators, Larry (Lawrence Michael Levine, GABI ON THE ROOF IN JULY) and Ayesha (Kelsy Abbott, the TV series short BUSINESS), searching for a missing teenager. Their hunt takes them to an abandoned house filled with VHS tapes, which are those rectangular things your social studies teacher used to rely on. The tapes (none of which contain THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, unfortunately), of course, help divide the movie into sections.
After “Tape 49” (which serves as the home base) comes “Phase 1 Clinical Trials,” about a man (Adam Wingard) who receives an eye implant that forces him to see dead people. In “A Ride in the Park,” a bike enthusiast (Jay Saunders, NINJAS VS. MONSTERS) goes for a ride and winds up the victim of a zombie attack. In “Safe Haven,” a TV news crew investigates a cult and gets more than their producer bargained for. And in “Slumber Party Alien Abduction,” well, there’s a slumber party and an alien abduction. And to think, all of this was captured on Google Glass-like eyewear, helmet cameras and camera phones. Kind of makes you want to pay visit to your local cult, doesn’t it?
Like most anthologies, V/H/S/2 is an uneven effort, and much of what appeals to the viewer will depend on their preferred subgenres. Those that like zombies will go for “A Ride in the Park,” while those that are partial to cults (or are in one) will like “Safe Haven” and those that enjoy busting in on teens having sex will get a kick out of “Slumber Party Alien Abduction.” But while V/H/S/2 as a whole is lopsided, each segment has its own set of creepy images: there’s the child corpse in the bed in “Phase 1 Clinical Trials,” the gorging of a recently undead’s innards in “A Ride in the Park,” the forced C-section in “Safe Haven,” and the first appearance of the aliens in “Slumber Party Alien Abduction.”
All of this comes courtesy of the team of directors: there’s Simon Barrett (who starred in the original’s “Tape 56” segment), Wingard (who helmed “Tape 56” and “Q is for Quack” in THE ABCS OF DEATH), Eduardo Sánchez (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), Gregg Hale (who produced BLAIR WITCH), Gareth Huw Evans (THE RAID: REDEMPTION), Timo Tjahjanto (“L is for Libido” in THE ABCS OF DEATH), and Jason Eisener (HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN).
In the end, this sequel keeps with the tradition of the original (which had the likes of Ti West onboard). While there may not be poltergeists or doomed camping trips or ripped penises, there are still ghosts, zombies, dead, undead, blood, gore, masturbation, vomiting, self-mutilations, strangulations, flesh-devouring, intestine-chomping, firearms, slit throats, exploding bodies, mass suicides, dead dogs, and so much more.
V/H/S/2 should hold fans of the anthology horror over until MORE ABCS OF DEATH or CAMERA PHONE: THE MOVIE hits theaters.
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. As the source quality differs from segment to segment (and even scene to scene), so too does the Blu-ray quality. This means that the video can sometimes look very grainy but also surprisingly crisp. Overall, though, the presentation features weak colors and tones.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio transfer is quite good considering the flaws of the video. All of the sound effects (from gunshots to alien noises) and screams (from dead to undead) come through nicely and heighten the movie’s effectiveness.
Filmmakers Commentary: The directors—Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Gareth Huw Evans, Timo Tjahjanto (“L is for Libido” in THE ABCS OF DEATH), and Jason Eisener—sit down for separate commentaries.
“Tape 49” Rewind (1:37): Barrett and producer Chris Harding briefly discuss “taking it up a notch” with the segment.
Dissecting “Phase 1 Clinical Trials” (2:27): Wingard touches on why it made sense for him to star in his segment.
Inside “Safe Haven” (3:33): Tjahjanto and Evans delve into the actual events that inspired “Safe Haven.”
“Slumber Party Alien Abduction”: Behind the Lights (5:55) includes behind-the-scenes footage of the segment.
“A Ride in the Park”: I Dare You (3:05): Here, Sánchez and first assistant director Matthew Crosby attempt to push down a tree.
AXS TV: A Look at V/H/S/2 (2:58) is a short promotional piece for V/H/S/2.
Behind the Scenes Photo Galleries