Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days Of Horror: The 31 Dayening: V/H/S/2

Yes I am actually giving this a shot. We’ll see how it goes.

V/H/S/2 is a much stronger film than its predecessor. V/H/S was one of those films that I didn’t mind as I was watching but which curdled somewhat in hindsight. Curiously, considering the first films success the makers of V/H/S/2 seemed to agree and the anthology film wipes the slate clean creatively, caring over Adam Wingard who directed the framing story of the original. The film features no returning directors and replaces the rather loathsome group of thugs who provided the first film’s wrap around story with a significantly less vile shady Private Eye, who along with his girl Friday, stumbles across a new cache of haunted tapes while searching for a missing student.

The tapes are pretty solid for the most part. Adam Wingard’s, “Phase I Clinical Trials” is an old fashioned haunting story that wouldn’t be out of place in MR James, about a man who receives a new high tech eye and starts to see ghosts with it. As said Wingard is the only director returning from VHS and thus his film is the only one that still has a whiff of the misogyny that plagued the first film like so much stinky cheese. But given that this particular character is clearly meant to be damaged it’s less objectionable and briefer than anything in the first film. It’s a pretty tough story to fuck up, and Wingard doesn’t, though he does raise questions he has no apparent interest in answering.

If there’s a bummer in the bunch it has to belong Eduardo Sanchez’s “A Ride in the Park.” Not that it’s a particularly bad piece of work, but given its pedigree I was expecting something a little stronger. It’s not every day that the man responsible for pretty much defining the modern day incarnation of a subgenre returns to said subgenre. But when he does one hopes it will go better than, “pretty clever”. Blame it on Zombie fatigue or over hype but while this is some well staged mayhem it falls short of Sanchez at his best.  The Blair Witch Project still stands as one of the most frightening films of all time, and Sanchez has done strong (and sadly underrated) work since then.  The film is a solid single, but given that its Sanchez’s most high profile project in a while I was kind of hoping for him to knock it out of the park.

No that particular distinction belongs to Gareth Evans “Safe Haven” a chillingly effective piece of horror that managed to be a lot of fun even with The Sacrament rattling around in my head. Though the idea of Evans leaving Kung Fu behind makes me sad on the inside, “Safe Haven” proves that should he ever chose to shed genres he will have no problem doing so. He finds the most innovative staging for the naturally limiting, first person horror that the series demands. He finds the most vantage points to shot from, and carefully sets up some matching shots, while keeping the limited claustrophobic viewpoint that the format provides. Most of the scares belong to him. The only flaw comes in the film’s final punchline, which while fine in and of itself is provided with a bit of physical effects work of which it can kindly be said is not up to snuff. Might I suggest a silhouette next time Mr. Evans?

Things close with Jason Eisener’s Slumber Party Alien Abduction. While a better than Eisener’s grotesque and not in a good way, entry into The ABCs of Death, Eisener’s work still falls short of the lunatic energy of Hobo With A Shotgun. Though in all fairness, the task of following up “Safe Haven” is pretty damn unenviable.  

All in all V/H/S/2 isn’t going to revolutionize the found footage genre, or change anyone’s mind about the format, but it’s a solid piece of work.

I am happy to announce that you can buy my work in print now. Yessir, the good folks at Paracinema have seen fit to unleash my words on an unsuspecting world. It's a retrospective on Sam Raimi's work, and you can read it in Issue 20. Seven Dollars! Cheep!


In further news I'm also happy to announce that I've started writing for Paracinema's website. Right now I'm in the midst of releasing my Fantastic Fest Coverage which was more fun than should be allowed. I've covered such works as The Sacrament, The Nightbreed: Cabal Cut, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. And some movies that aren't even horror.

Any tweets or facebooking is much appriciated.


And as always you can pick up my book Son Of Danse Macabre on The Kindle or The Nook. 2.99. Cheep! We're coming up on a year of my baby, and there'll be more to say about that later...

Until then, Hell Yeah OCTOBER!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good to have you back