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on June 7, 2013
(The following review may have potential spoilers, although most descriptions are as brief as possible.)

V/H/S 2 is a found-footage horror anthology. "Tape 49" is the frame story which follows two private investigators searching for a missing college student. When they arrive at the house, they find and view several VHS tapes hoping to track the young student. Instead, they find the following short movies:

"Clinical Trials Phase 1" follows a man who has received a new eye after a car accident - an eye with a built-in camera. When he gets home, he begins to hallucinate - things are misplaced, odd figures are seen, etc. This story works superbly as a jump-scare ghost story. It uses great suspense and the claustrophobic tunnel-vision to create effectively unexpected and consistent jump-scares. Some of the visuals are also eerie, and very creative. The acting of the lead was a bit off at times as his dialogue delivery felt unnatural - he didn't seem frightened.

"A Ride In The Park" follows a man as he takes a quick spin on his bike through the park. He eventually runs into an injured, vomiting woman and can see several people approaching from afar. The woman bites him, and, as he escapes, he becomes a zombie. The shooting style is great, and the unique zombie perspective also works well - it is a very creative story. This story is intense and violent, and even a bit humorous. Everything blends together well to create a highly entertaining tale. The special effects and makeup are great, and so is the acting.

"Safe Haven" follows a documentary crew investigating an Indonesian cult. The leader, referred to as "Father", is presumably involved in illegal acts, such as underage sex as he "purifies" children. During the interview, all hell breaks loose as the time of reckoning approaches. This story is fantastic. It starts as a creepy documentary working solely off its dialogue and performances. Then, everything spirals out of control as mass suicide and murder occurs, along with an abduction of sorts. Then, it spirals further into hell as a demon is born and the dead return back to life. This story uses disturbing visuals, jump-scares, and insane amounts of gore. I really loved the story in this film, especially the constant buildup and change in the story; it was completely unexpected. The acting is great, the special effects and makeup are impressive, and the direction is superb.

"Slumber Party Alien Abduction" follows three young siblings and their respective friends, along with their dog, during a slumber party. After a day of pranking (and effective foreshadowing), a bright flash occurs at night and odd figures surround the home. They are subsequently attacked by aliens, and are chased through the forest, with a surprise waiting at every corner. This is another unique found-footage story, mostly shot creatively from a dog's back. It uses its lighting, tension, and jump-scares effectively. (The lighting may be hazardous for those with sensitive eyes since it often flashes rapidly and consistently.) I don't like animal violence, fake or real, and this ends sadly. (I won't spoil it, but dog-lovers might cringe.) It was entertaining, and well-made, nonetheless. And, finally, Tape 49 ends with a very creepy and intense scene, and with a lot of blood. (and incredible special effects.)

Overall, V/H/S/2 is an immensely entertaining, creative, unique, and terrifying anthology; I thoroughly enjoyed every story in this ferociously paced film. I'm a sucker for horror anthologies like Trick R' Treat, Tales From The Hood, and V/H/S, and this film ranks with the best of them. Whether your a fan of ghost stories or gore stories, V/H/S/2 has something for everyone, and it effectively compliments the first film. Thanks to its versatility, this is one series that I wouldn't mind seeing more installments of.

V/H/S/2 has very strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.
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on August 3, 2013
I was one of the people who found myself disappointed with the initial 'V/H/S'. I thought it had some good ideas but ultimately a lackluster presentation with only a few memorable moments. To my surprise, I found 'V/H/S/2' to be an effective and entertaining anthology. It's worth seeing for 'Safe Haven' alone but the other ones are decent enough.

The wrap-around story is the weakest aspect of the film, as it follows two private investigators looking for a missing student and finding a room full of VHS tapes that comprise the shorts. There's little payoff here and two films in we still don't know the significance of the tapes themselves or how they even got here beyond "insert vague supernatural reason". Fortunately it doesn't take too long to get to the segments.

The first short 'Phase I Clinical Trials' is about a man who receives an eye transplant and begins seeing ghosts. It's been done before and better with films like the 'The Eye' (the Hong Kong original, not the remake with Jessica Alba) but it has a few good scares. One of the issues I had with the short though is largely the fault of the anthology's 'schtick' -- that everything is recorded onto a VHS tape. The footage in this short is transmitted from the man's 'eye' to the doctors studying him, and the futuristic technology on display here clashes with the low-fi aesthetic that the rest of the film goes with.

The second short 'A Ride in the Park' is a hilarious take on the zombie genre done from the perspective of one of the undead with some surprising poignancy as well. It's the second best in the film anthology in my opinion.

The highlight of 'V/H/S/2' is undoubtedly 'Safe Haven', directed by Timo Tjahjanto. It's about a news crew investigating a mysterious Indonesian cult, and needless to say, things don't go as planned. To say anymore would be criminal, but it's a very intense short with some twisted moments and it's one of the few "found footage" films I've seen that made me feel like I was there with the characters. It works surprisingly well as a self-contained film on its own and I wouldn't mind seeing Tjahjanto making this into a full-length feature film someday (assuming that stretching out the length wouldn't dilute it). For this segment alone I'd put 'V/H/S/2' in my top ten for the year.

Finally, 'Alien Abduction Slumber Party' is basically what the title suggests -- aliens invading a slumber party. After the previous short, this one comes off as pretty slight and the short's low budget actually works against it given the potential. Without spoiling anything, I found the ending to be unnecessarily mean-spirited and left a bad taste in my mouth. I certainly don't mind dark endings -- The Mist is one of my favorite films of all time -- but this one didn't sit well with me. You'd have to see it to know what I'm referring to.

So we have two decent enough shorts and two great ones, one of which elevates the film as a must-see in my opinion. If you were one of those put off by the lackluster first film, don't let that stop you from giving this a try.
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on August 13, 2014
I had actually watched some time ago, both of the movies in order, and quite frankly at the time, didnt enjoy the second film as much as the first. But I came back and watched the 2nd first and the first 2nd and I have to say that I really enjoy this one more than the first. Mainly because of its all around intensity the tales in this one are intense and pretty horrific. If you are a fan of found footage style films you will like this alot, as it is a very original take on the genre, much like the first one. If found footage is not your cup of tea, I would still suggest giving this second one a try as it uses some pretty creative ways of shooting.
Though the ending, is what has caused me to give it 4 stars rather than 5, Seriously the last few seconds where I suddenly get a thumbs up from the man turned monster, What the heck!?.... Overall though, if your a horror fan, this is definently worth a watch!
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on June 7, 2013
I'm a huge horror fan !! Let just say that I truely loved the 1st vhs , that said I'm so beyond words for vhs 2 , it is the best behind the camera genre , ghost flick , one the best zombie shorts to date , the 3rd flick is called safe haven ... Wow this is the most messed up shorts on this film . I truely give it 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟cuz it deserves it . U won't be disappointed .
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on June 7, 2013
VHS-2 (My Review) (Overall Average: 28, divided by 4 stories = a Weighted Rating: 7/10)

But throwing in my own feelings as a whole, I give my final rating: 8/10

One word to describe VHS-2, my own created word: Insanitage!

~*~

SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW...

The missing boy says he first thought for the movies to effect you, you would have to watch them in a specific order, but then came to find out that's not true... and as the girl watches the videos, they begin to take their toll.

Story 1:(Ghosts) Skipped the payoff, it was too obvious. Other than that, potential, but didn't really go anywhere and kind of ridiculous. I love ghost stories, but this one just didn't do a thing for me.

(Story Rating: 5/10)

Story 2: (Undead) It's not often you see the world through the eyes of a zombie, it reminds me of when I put the petcam on my cat and he went to record his adventures in the neighborhood... but maybe not quite as adorable... I liked the original take on a tired and played out genre... it's basically a combination of genres, found footage with zombies, very disturbing, and really well done.

(Story Rating: 9/10)

Story 3: (Cults) Quite the interesting and uniquely disturbing take on cults. There are aspects of this story I really liked, and parts I didn't, but either way you look at it, it must be said, they didn't pull any punches. From what I could tell in a single viewing, a strange Asian cult leader is attempting to open the gates of paradise, really more like the gates of hell, it has everything, mass self poisoning, and other forms of suicide to welcome in the new age, indoctrination, extrasensory intuition, and it seems to have happened before... I'm not entirely sure how I'd rate this one, it was interesting, disturbing, with a pretty good ending, and it left me with a very disturbed feeling, I think it was that transition from one world to another that does it, as if these worlds are all layered on top of each other, and it would be so easily to slip from one reality to another seamlessly... for example... it almost feels like a separate reality where Michael Jackson was black and Whitney Houston was a beautiful singer... but then one day we all woke up and Michael Jackson was a pedophile and Whitney was a crackhead. Tiny clicks to disturbing realities... like that movie, "The Quiet Earth" or "Butterfly Effect"... each click reality more horrifying and surreal than the last.

(Story Rating: 8/10)

Story 4: (Aliens) First of all, that house is gorgeous. This story is fairly simple with some good effects, but the ending will leave you sad.

(Story Rating: 6/10)

Epilogue: As the over-arcing story comes to a close, it does so in a very memorable and disturbing way, but don't expect any of it to make any sense, because just like VHS 1, it's not really meant to.

Final Thoughts: I thought Insidious was okay in a well, it's mediocre at best, lukewarm horror seems to be everywhere these days, and Insidious 2 looks just as lukewarm judging from the trailer. VHS 2 was vastly superior and it's just an anthology of short stories, but it's got balls and it's got bite.
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on October 6, 2013
Another round of the found-footage style horror anthology done so well in the original. V/H/S 2 is a mixed bag, with five tales counting the wrap-around instead of the first's six. A quick run down:

TAPE 49 (the wrap around)- Two private investigators searching for a missing college student wind up his home where they find a stack of TVs and VHS tapes. After finding a tape with the student talking about the bizarre nature of the other VHS tapes, one searches the home and the other watches the four tapes....including the mysterious college student's.

PHASE 1 CLINICAL TRIALS - The weakest story of the bunch. A man gets a camera planted in his eye after losing his vision in a car accident. As soon as he gets home he starts to see strange visions of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. The only good thing about this one was eye candy Hannah Hughes as Clarissa.

A RIDE IN THE PARK - First ever zombie cam! A man riding his bike in the woods with a helmet cam gets bit by a zombie and we get the entire POV as his transformation. Pure gory fun here.

SAFE HAVEN - Asian horror at its craziest. An Indonesian cult leader, suspected of pedophilia, is investigated by a news crew at the cult location and what they find is nightmarish madness. This one's an utter bloodbath and the second best of the series.

SLUMBER PARTY ALIEN ABDUCTION - A group of prankster kids tie a camera to their dog's head at their lake house when they're attacked by a group of greys after a UFO lands near by. Decent story but ultimately dissatisfying compared to the previous two.

Enjoy fellow cult fans.
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VINE VOICEon July 19, 2013
Horror anthologies have made a triumphant return. With "V/H/S" and "The ABCs of Death" being released in 2012 and being surprisingly good, these modern takes on the horror anthology are in the same vein as "The Twilight Zone," "Creepshow," and "Tales from the Crypt." Less than a year has passed since the release of "V/H/S," an anthology revolving around the handheld perspective, and here we are getting its sequel "V/H/S/2." "V/H/S/2" won't sway those who hated the first film, but is bound to appeal to those who did.

The wrap around story, known as "Tape 49," has Larry (Lawrence Michael Levine) video taping a husband cheat on his wife before getting caught, barely escaping, and then meeting up with his partner Ayesha (Kelsy Abbot) to investigate a missing college kid. Going through the window of a broken down apartment, Larry and Ayesha find a multiple TV setup similar to the one in the first film with the same stacks of video cassette tapes lying around and the addition of a laptop computer. Naturally, Larry has Ayesha watch the tapes to try to find a lead while he investigates the house.

Stories include an eye injury leading to a bionic eye implant with a recording chip and glitches that allow the recipient to see the dead, a bike ride in the woods interrupted by zombies, a man promising that he's found a way into paradise, and the pranks of teenagers thankfully being put to rest by an alien abduction.

The eye injury story, "Phase I Clinical Trials," has an interesting concept, but a lame execution. It just feels like more could have been done with the glitching aspect and the climax in the pool is underwhelming. The zombie bike ride, "A Ride in the Park," is intriguing. The main character is bitten while wearing a camera strapped to his head, so you basically see the life cycle of a zombie from his perspective. Victims are infected, change rapidly, and throw up a nasty black liquid. There's also an up close and personal shot of the victim eating intestines that is just disgustingly great.

"Safe Haven" is the crowning achievement of "V/H/S/2." A man referred to as Father (Epy Kusnandar) leads a cult that is promised a trip to paradise and a journey to immortality. Watching the horror that unfolds is unreal and it's particularly strong. The ending is both outrageous and completely satisfying in the sense that the blood never stops flowing, but the final scene is likely to make you roll your eyes and snicker. Closing out the tapes is "Slumber Party Alien Abduction," which is a rather disappointing effort from "Hobo with a Shotgun" director Jason Eisener. Seeing the pranks the kids play gets tiresome very quickly. Its most inventive concept is the dog's perspective, but there's a particularly creepy sequence on a pier and the loud commotion featured whenever the aliens appear is unsettling.

Featuring returning "V/H/S" directors Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard and uniting them with new directors Eduardo Sanchez ("The Blair Witch Project"), Timo Tjahjanto ("The ABCs of Death"), Gregg Hale, and Gareth Evans ("The Raid: Redemption"), "V/H/S/2" is a smorgasbord of horror and violence filled with a variety of ups and downs that is sure to whet the appetite for those craving a bloody trip through hell.
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on January 19, 2014
I love gory movies, but they haven't made a movie that has shocked me yet. I was hoping this one would, but not quite, but it's still a good movie to watch. I love the concept behind both films and hope they make a third one. I don't care if I can predict what's going to happen in a movie, I just want to see how far they will go with it and if they can make me jump. So far, I have not seen a horror movie that has made me get scared. They said the paranormal movies would, but I ended up laughing at me. The people who know I'm an actor and novelist know I love horror and live in a designed haunted house so really I'm used to all the gory stuff year round. This is one of the movies I put under you should check it out and judge for yourself.
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on April 27, 2015
I liked this movie. It's about even with it's predecessor...each had their hits and misses.

The best episode by far IMHO is Safe Haven...it might be the best segment of both movies barely beating out Amateur Night from the 1st movie.
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on August 4, 2013
I was excited to see this after reading the review in "Rue Morgue" magazine, which claims that "VHS 2" is a rare instance of a sequel being better than the original. I disagree and was disappointed. if you saw "VHS," you know what to except: several short segments (20 - 30 minutes) all using the found footage technique pulled together with a framing narrative that also uses found footage.

The first two segments are the best, not least because they make innovative use of the found footage technique. "Phase 1 Clinical Tries" places the camera in an experimental eye transplant that enables the user to see ghosts, while "A Ride in the Park" uses a helmet cam in a short that injects new life into the tired zombie genre. I wouldn't even classify "Safe Haven," the third segment, as found footage, and it suffers from the disgusting elements that have become too characteristic of Asian horror. The title of the final segment let's you know what to expect: "Slumber Party Alien Abduction." It relies on a camera mounted to a dog, but I'm so tired of alien abduction stories that I just wanted it to end.

The frame is unnecessarily confusing, which was also a problem in the first film. It gets to be found-footage overkill. I liked the anthology approach, but I wish the "VHS" movies would either dispense with the framing stories altogether, or make better frames using more traditional techniques. The found-footage approach just doesn't work for the frame in either film.

Despite my complaints, the first few segments of VHS 2 make it worthwhile, and I would definitely check out another sequel.
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