V/H/S 2 (2013)

Genre: Horror

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, Adam Wingard

Writers: Brad Miska (concept) Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Nicholas Tecosky, Ti West,  Glenn McQuaid, Simon Barrett, Radio Silence, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella

Starring: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard

Rating: ★★

VHS 2 has a staggering number of writers and directors who also act as stars within their own film, once viewed it is obvious to see why, as there are a number of segments and stories involved throughout. I haven’t seen the 2012 prequel VHS, however this sequel has more than enough to make up my mind about the two of them. I do admit there is a chance however that my negative views on this film may have differed if VHS adds to the understanding of the story.

The story follows two investigators hired to look into a case regarding the disappearance of a young male student. When entering a hideout deemed to be the location which will have all the answers they find the students den, however it is cluttered with a number of VHS cassette tapes. The private investigators decide to view the tapes in search for more clues but obtain more than they could have ever imagined as a series of dark and horrifying events are displayed, leading to the discovery of some hidden dark secrets.

The concept is somewhat new, but only in the fact that there’s a combination of all these stories, which are very well known and have been seen before. It is however action packed and at times frightening, but the interest and excitement doesn’t last long, as confusion and boredom approaches as a conclusion seems distant when reaching the third tape. The first tape is great, a series of ghosts are seen through a man’s faulty robotic eye and it seems to set up these horror-like moments, the second provides zombies, which are later followed by aliens, a cult and what seems to be a giant tree monster. Although this is the world of cinema, the realism within this film is absent and unfortunately if you do buy into the story well, it can become a painful watch.

The first tape is good, the effects and concept is well thought out, however it isn’t the same for the others. I normally find interest in anything involving zombies however it was too humorous despite the initial attempt being serious, at one part as we seem to follow the POV of a zombie we hear him moan “mmmm” at the sight of blood. The effects equally disappoint, which set the standard for the following events. I do however have to praise the cult scene, which sees huge amounts of gore in some certain scenes which are very well executed and managed.

The acting is very mediocre and it feels very false despite it having a “found-footage” feel, it reminds me of Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield which hosts a string of annoying laughs, voices and actor/director moments.

VHS 2 is a film which attempts to create something new, to which it deserves some credit, however I can’t empathise enough how amateur and somewhat ridiculous some parts of the film feel. It does obtain action and horror which can be entertaining, before becoming boring. I may have been to critical or had my perception altered due to missing its earlier prequel the year before, however this is a release that should be steered away from.

 

 

A Clockwork Orange (1972)

Genre: Crime, Sci-Fi, Drama

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Burgess (novel)

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates

Rating: ★★★★★

A film from one of my favourite directors, and one of the best directors to ever embrace the cinematic world, A Clockwork Orange challenged audiences to question the need for violence in life and wowed Academy’s as it picked up a string of awards including Best Picture and Best Director.  Previously being withheld from millions, once viewed it is obvious to see the brilliance behind a film which although has an unconventional storyline, holds cinema-changing craftsmanship.

Alex is a young boy, a member of a futuristic Britain, a much changed world. His main interests are ultra-violence, rape and Ludwig Van Beethoven of course. Rolling about with his three “droogs” Pete, Georgie and Dim he adventures on another night of mugging and raping, but when he faces a challenging woman after breaking into her house, he is arrested for murder and is imprisoned. Once inside he soon learns his life will be nothing but following orders and ending each sentence with “Sir”, but when hearing about a new experiment which could reduce his sentence he volunteers himself. The study attempts to brainwash convicts into detesting any form of violence, and once completed Alex is released into the mean streets he once created and ruled; his morals may have forcibly changed but others haven’t.

A Clockwork Orange is a rollercoaster of a film, with excitement and action in every sequence, something that Kubrick delivers excellently. The scenes of violence and rape are not as shocking as some explain, however what is problematic is how as an audience we are encouraged to side with Alex, and therefore break the rules in the film’s society as well as our own. Kubrick seems to question the need for violence in society, what you take from the film is down to your own mind-set and outlooks; however A Clockwork Orange is known as a film which seems to question individual’s morals and beliefs, making it somewhat unique.

The film is witty, and clever with the dialogue something I find brilliant. It makes the film fun, although it shouldn’t be given the plot, I find it really is. The futuristic world created is likewise the same, and both together seem to create interest and awe.

The acting is something which should be credited and for me Malcolm McDowell’s portrayal as Alex is fantastic and is one of my favourite. The deliverance of every line and syllable creates emotion, and every step and movement seems to be natural and exciting. Kubrick’s direction throughout really shows to full extent his talents, and why his breakthrough in cinema was so influential. The range of shots, the selection of shots and certain scenes are great. The way the camera pans in Mr and Mrs Alexander’s house was innovative whilst the close ups on Alex’s eyes in the testing scenes are rather disturbing, and that’s surprising considering the film itself.

The soundtrack is an interesting choice, the mixture of “Ol’ Ludwig Van” with violence summarises A Clockwork Orange perfectly, something with so much craft, making an unconventional masterpiece. However my favourite would be Singin’ in the Rain along with its inclusion within the film and certain scenes, in the mugging and rape scene as Alex starts to beat Mr Alexander it is clever and fun, a real highlight in the film. It’s a moment that you seem to find hard to remove from ya Gulliver!

A Clockwork Orange is a classic and a film which is part of history, another piece added by the fantastic Stanley Kubrick. Its unconventional, but that’s it likability, its unique, fun and exciting but at the same time it can shock its audience and eventually leave them with a few questions. I can’t find fault in Kubrick’s creation, maybe due to its uniqueness there is not much you can compare with, however every element seems to work and the end product is nothing short from flawless.