If you read my review for the first film, and judging by my review numbers, you haven't, then you know I wasn't the biggest fan of the original V/H/S. The film is beloved though, which means the obligatory sequel was created. Is it better than the original? Yes. As I did with my review of the first film, I will review each story individually then give an overall grade for the whole film.
The wraparound for this film is slightly better than the last one. Instead of douchebags doing stupid things then just randomly going to a house, we have a slight (and I use the term loosely) reason for following two private investigators who are searching for a missing student. This time there is plot about the vhs tapes located in the student's house, but because the plot requires it, the two investigators don't truly listen to the plot. The wraparound has a somewhat nice touch but is then done in by a confusing ending and a shallow final shot. Were we really given a thumbs up?
Phase I Clinical Trials:
A man who suffered an eye injury in a car accident and undergoes a procedure backed by "the government" wherein he receives his sight back, but has a recording device permanently recording in his eye. How and why is this normal guy receiving this government project? No clue. He goes home and then begins to see ghostly figures that may or may not be real. Enter a female character who knows all and provides him with just enough
A Ride In The Park:
A cyclist with a camera mounted on his helmet stumbles across a woman who has been attacked. The attackers show up as the man tries to help the wounded woman, but it's too late. The wounded woman then returns to life as a zombie and we are thrust into a first-person zombie story. I personally found this to be the most entertaining story of the bunch. The gore is solid and there is a surprising amount of dark humor to be found regarding certain story elements that I wont go in to. Not a scary story, and a short one to boot, but this story does sacrifices story and character for taking us on a zombie story that we haven't seen exactly done the same way.
Probably the most ambitious story of V/H/S/2, a documentary film crew sets out to Indonesia to interview the leader of a cult. While the interview is on-going, the leader and his members begin to exhibit strange behavior that will put the lives of the documentary crew in jeopardy. This is the longest story of V/H/S/2 and the one that tries to give a full 3-act structure. As time puts some restraint on this film, this is a very ambitious tale that probably could have worked as a full-length feature. Some inconsistencies near the end including a "kitchen sink-style" third act kept me from making this as my favorite story, but I appreciate the effort and all that was done for this tale.
Slumber Party Alien Abduction:
Which brings us to this tale. I was hoping that the stupid title might have shown some humor and fun in an over the top-style alien film. Nope. Just aliens coming down to abduct some people on a lake house. Nothing special at all and the aliens go from speedy abductors to lumbering-type aliens depending on whether the plot calls for a jump scare or a suspenseful scare. Either way, nothing really about this story works. And if all abductions happen like the way these aliens do, then we would know all about them as these are the loudest aliens in the history of aliens.
Anyway, this collection of short films is a better overall package than its precedessor. The quality, overall, is a step up and even the wraparound wasn't AS dumb as the first one. I still can't quite recommend V/H/S/2, but I recommend it more than the first one.