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.



You’re Next (2013)

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Comedy

Director: Adam Wingard

Writers: Simon Barrett

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen

Rating: ★★★½

You’re Next was a horror that stormed the UK in 2013 despite being a big success when released in the Toronto Film Festival of 2011. Despite the long awaited-release Barrett’s thrilling creation doesn’t disappoint too much. A somewhat refreshing and unique approach to the stereotypical home-invasion thriller, You’re Next is a twisty horror with a mountain of gore and action which consequently leads to an entertaining watch.

The story surrounds the Davison family on the night of a big-reunion and getaway to celebrate the wedding anniversary of their parents. Arguments and bitter family grudges between brothers soon set the tone for an uncomfortable night which then becomes a nightmare. When a group of animal-masked, crossbow and axe-wielding murderers invade on the get together things turn bloody and gory quickly as one by one the family and guest numbers slowly decrease. However an unlikely member of the party proves to be the best and most brutal killer of them all as she takes matter into her own hands alongside a kitchen knife.

It is hard to go into too much detail of the story without giving away any spoilers, but the events and torture lead for an exciting night. The story is entertaining as said, but in terms of predictability and surprises it is awful in a sense, from the beginning I guessed what was happening and the ending came as no surprise, but I can see some watchers blinded by this and falling for the twists and turns of the narrative. However as a horror the gore is great along with the mass murders and the way in which they are each killed. The animal masked-murderers were a unique and refreshing take being something I haven’t really seen before, effective as it was it would have been nice to keep a bit more mystery and prolong the suspense. As a home-invasion thriller it was respectful too, with the story involving a family get together much more impacting and entertaining than a lonely couple in the middle of nowhere.

For an almost unknown cast and crew You’re Next stands its ground very well especially amongst other horror releases in 2013. Sharni Vinson as Erin, the trained killer guest is entertaining and provides good action, however her character is a little too much on the nose and literal but it’s one you will just have to go along with. There are as many faults with this release as there are positives at times but I think it balances out to be enjoyable. There a rare few moments that thrill, however when we are only following the one character instead of the whole family it makes for a much more tense watch and experience. Adam Wingard at times shows promising signs of excellence as his clever direction creates a few jumps and anxious moments.

The make-up and effects department areas also deserve some kudos and respect as the gore and physical horror was a highlighting aspect as blood splatters, heads rolling and knifes flying made a much more entertaining watch. In a summary that’s what it comes down to for You’re Next, it is although not amazing and a work-of-art a very entertaining film. Despite obviously having flaws there weren’t any moments you wanted to give up and turn off as surprisingly you were hooked, as little as it might have been. Gore galore, and thrills a rarity You’re Next isn’t exactly a must-see but a worth-while enjoyable horror.