V/H/S 2 (2013)
It has become quite the rarity when a sequel contains staying-power that dominates its forerunner in every facet. Nevertheless, evoking more chills and thrills, “V/H/S 2″ is a masterful upgrade from its predecessor. Taking our criticisms regarding last years unbalanced indie hit “V/H/S”to heart. “V/H/S 2″ cut down its runtime and has fewer segments. Evidently, this slowly blooming horror anthology franchise has learned that less is more. Not only evolving, “V/H/S 2″ has matured, interweaving its vignettes with precision and taste. As well as improving on the variety, these snapshots touch upon more sub-genres and turn its attention to appeasing die-hard enthusiasts. Surprisingly, a couple of these shorts have the capability to be full-length features. Filling up the buckets with gore and keeping its viewers hearts racing. “V/H/S 2″ is a sequel that works in ways its ancestor could only have nightmares about.
The frame narrative is entitled “Tape 49″ and follows two private investigators who are sent to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young male student. The segment was created by Simon Barrett.
PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS: (Adam Wingard), 7 out of 10.
A man sitting in a doctor’s office is having his eye examined. When he pulls a mirror up to his face, we see that instead of his eye, there is a prosthetic replacement. This fake eye is equipped with a camera for research purposes. Informed that it will take some time getting used to, the man returns home and soon begins experiencing weird occurrences.
A RIDE IN THE PARK: (Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale), 7.5 out of 10.
A man straps a camera to his helmet and has a brief conversation with his fiancee before heading out on a bike path. Soon, the man stumbles upon a woman who jumped out of a bush covered in blood and lacerations. Screaming over her boyfriend, the man assists the woman until she begins to attack him by clawing and biting at his flesh. The man eventually pushes her away and makes an escape and calls for assistance himself.
SAFE HAVEN: (Gareth Evans), 9 out of 10.
A news crew goes into an Indonesian cult to report on what happens behind its closed doors. Filmed entirely by the camera crew or hidden cameras from inside the compound. The crew eventually persuade the leader of the cult to do an interview. When the camera crew begins to experience equipment problems, the seemingly docile cult members turn suspicious.
SLUMBER PARTY ALIEN ABDUCTION: (Jason Eisener), 8.5 out of 10.
A group of young teenagers are making silly videos with a camera strapped to their dog. After one of the boys parents leave, the group of friends decide to have a sleepover and begin pranking the boy’s older sister. Soon, this strange, defining sound shakes the house and members of the group start disappearing.
Astoundingly, “V/H/S 2″ has managed to find the human element that its former was considerably lacking. Now, one can’t help but wonder about the limitless potential this franchise carries, provided of course that the growth continues. “V/H/S 2″ profits, predictably albeit from an increase in showmanship and stage-value. While 2012s “V/H/S” stayed truer to the premise than its successor. As the series improves, the more we are willing to let slide in order to witness better, more complete segments. For this sequel, the filmmakers produced more complex, empathetic shorts that never substitute effectiveness for sensibility. These filmmakers give the audience credit. Each one of the snapshots is equally terrifying, sympathetic, and intelligent. Nevertheless, for fanboys such as myself, what truly makes “V/H/S 2″ a worthy successor and in every facet better than its predecessor, is its ability to push the boundaries of normalcy to see what we can tolerate. Give respect, and receive it back.
“V/H/S 2″ really comes into its own, fully realizes its capabilities and premise. The ability to hone in on situations and circumstances that allow each short to maximize the terror, ingenuity, and emotion that “V/H/S” was critically missing benefits “V/H/S 2″ substantially. Each segment allows the viewer to somewhat place themselves in the scenario and feel it play out as if it could theoretically happen to them. Of course, what sends these shorts over the top is this supernatural, murderous extravagance that we all fear deeply. And the ability to cower under this trepidation as a serious threat really pushes the envelope, ultimately allowing for a more involved, horrifying experience. In the end, “V/H/S 2″ is exceeds its predecessor in every aspect of the word and will undoubtedly for this franchise to continue forward.
V/H/S 2: 8 out of 10.
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
Seizing what it has to offer instead of overcompensating and confusing the plot, which is done all too often these days. The Raid: Redemption might be brainless action, but it accomplishes what it sets out to achieve and more. It’s impeccably and incredible choreographed violence is paced and ascending. Leading to a slowly burning, blood soaked finale that will leave you craving seconds. Blindly proceeding forward with its strong foot leading. The foundation, the story, is actually quite intriguing. Characters divided by morals but connected by roots, criss crossing in and out of compassion and resentment. The Raid: Redemption’s cast is thrown to indecision and seemingly cross the line between fiction and reality in their performances. Directed by Gareth Evans, who is putting his talent to good use following up The Raid by contributing to the popular horror anthology V/H/S’s sequel, V/H/S 2. With The Raid: Redemption, what you see is what you get, no mirage, which is an oddity these days.
In Indonesia, an apartment building is the base for a cruel, criminal drug lord named Tama and his gang. One morning, Lieutenant Wahyu and Sergeant Jaka prepare their special forces team that includes Rama, a rookie and expectant father to raid the safe house. Tama and his gang manage to take out the majority of the special unit. Tama proceeds to announce over the PA system that the remaining members of the team are trapped on the sixth floor and whoever takes them out will be granted free, permanent residence. Now having to deal with Mad Dog, and Andi, Tama’s top henchmen, the rest of the gang, and building patrons, the team wholeheartedly fights back to take control of the building and destroy the gang.
Upon viewing The Raid, you’ll get the feeling that you’re trailing behind the SWAT team watching everything unfold, it’s beyond exhilarating. Evans and crew did a lot of things right, but knew to do one thing better than the rest, and that is when to show something and knowing when not to. For example, you might feel deprived of unnecessary violence when near the beginning someone is murdered with an axe and nothing is visible. Be warned, what you’re asking for is brutality and gore. With The Raid: Redemption, you are rewarded for your bloodthirsty insanity, you just might have to wait a bit longer and work a bit harder. There is no masking of the simplicity or camouflaging what it lacks. The Raid: Redemption is an emotional tale that doesn’t need you to over think. Sit down, relax, enjoy the excessive carnage and the destructiveness of its ferocity.
The Raid: Redemption: 8.5 out of 10.