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
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.