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Because there's just no easier way to do it, I shall be reviewing V/H/S/2 in a very similar way to the first film, beginning with my overall thoughts then delving into each short. Overall the film is a massive improvement over the already decent first film. Sure, it's just as messy, but if you know that going in then it doesn't even come across as a flaw. If I were to describe this film in one word it would be NUTS! This film is just that. At times, and I will discuss one in particular later on, the shorts in this film just go full-out bonkers. It's got one less short than its predecessor, but it out does that in every other way.
To begin with I shall discuss the main storyline, which I didn't feel was worth talking about with the first film. V/H/S/2 has a much better main storyline than the first film does, which was a convoluted and nauseating experience of nothingness. The storyline here is much more fleshed out and detailed. There's actual characters here, there's an actual plot and there's an actual conclusion. Although overly weird at times, it manages to sustain an interesting enough plot to keep me entertained and willing to watch on, even if there's literally no reasons for these characters to keep filming, but I've learnt to adapt to that when it comes to found footage.
The first short film, Phase I Clinical Trials, is pretty solid. Not only is it incredibly smart, but it's also incredibly original. The idea of an eye-cam is possibly the best idea out of both the films in this franchise, but who knows what'll happen in V/H/S: Viral when it's released in Australia this December. The rest of the film is conventional, but like Adam Wingard's other film, You're Next, he uses these conventions really well and makes an original film out of an unoriginal premise.
The second short film, A Ride in the Park, still manages to be good, all while being the worst short film V/H/S/2 has to offer. Unlike the first film, there isn't a short film that doesn't work. They're all good, perhaps because it's gone down from five to four. This short is, yet again, a by the numbers short film, but showing it from the perspective of the zombie is just absolutely stunning to watch. We see his transformation from life to death to life again and it's riveting stuff.
The third short film, Safe Haven, is the best film of the lot, which should be expected from Gareth Evans, one of the short's co-directors. It starts out slow, setting up character and building the location, then it goes out with a rather large, violent and bloody bang. It's disturbing, shocking and full of WTF moments, particularly a certain scene that happens near the end of the film that easily slots in as the most unexpected moment in this entire anthology.
The fourth and final short film, Slumber Party Alien Abduction, only seems underwhelming in comparison to Safe Haven. Safe Haven set the bar so high that anything showed afterwards just wouldn't seem so good. I guess that means this short is amazing, seeings as how I still thought it was decent. It doesn't get very scary until the end, but it's probably because I was still thinking about Safe Haven. I loved Safe Haven, and not the Nicholas Sparks one. Oh, the Slumber Party Alien Abduction one was fine too.
To sum up, V/H/S/2 ups the first film in every way, except for the amount of short films presented. The film can just get full-on bonkers at times, full of the unexpected, the disturbing and plenty of WTF moments. If you liked the first you're going to like this. If you didn't like the first, well, you best be giving this one a go anyway.