If you missed it this morning, Mr. Bowers and I had our week 3 wrap up chat. We’re doing these live every Sunday so if you find yourself looking for something to do around noon, join us! Or you can just catch up after here:
We’ve got two chats left and yeah. Can you believe it’s the 20th already? Where has this month gone?
Also make sure to visit Matthew and see what movies he’s been watching over at Very Aware.
Day 20 means movie 20! Or something like that, I’ve sort of lost count here. For today I’m continuing on with the V/H/S movies. I watched V/H/S 2.
V/H/S 2, 2013.
The V/H/S movies are horror anthologies. The frame story involves people finding mysterious VHS tapes in a creepy location, watching those tapes, and then having something horrible happen to them. Each tape contains a different found footage horror story. In the movies, each segment is directed by different team. Folks like Adam Wingard, Ti West, Eduardo Sanchez, and others are involved. It’s an interesting concept and on paper it sounds like a great, fun idea.
In practice… we get mixed results.
I didn’t love the first V/H/S but I did enjoy one or two of the segments. And this was one case where I really didn’t mind the idea of a sequel. It’s cool to get to see different short films from different directors.
My problem with it comes from the inconsistency in the quality and the fact that it’s all found footage. I generally really dislike found footage for reasons, a big one being it takes away from a lot of the technical craft of filmmaking. It’s low budget, sure, but it’s also lazy and gets to be really, really annoying after a while.
That’s not to say it can’t be done well. In the case of this second movie, I loved Eduardo Sanchez and Greg Hale’s Ride in the Park. It’s a zombie movie. And it’s found footage because the guy is turned into a zombie while he has a camera strapped to his bike helmet. How clever and hilarious is that? It’s also a zombie short movie. You don’t need to focus on character so much, plot. You can basically just have zombies running around causing havoc and it can still work really well. I mean, there’s a little bit of story, enough to keep things going. I just thought Ride in the Park used the medium to its advantage, better than most of these shorts do.
The first segment in the movie, Adam Wingard’s Phase I Clinical Trials, also used the found footage concept in a clever way, the camera is an ocular implant so rather than shaky cam nonsense, we’re literally seeing what he’s seeing. Unfortunately, I think the concept in this one fell flat, we’ve also seen it done better (in The Eye). The acting is mediocre which doesn’t help anything and it ends up feeling more tedious than anything else. Oh well.
The third segment Safe Haven by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto is a mixed bag. I like the concept and most of the execution, I didn’t love the subplot of the love triangle. It seemed thrown in and out of place given the location and situation facing the characters. I also didn’t love that the only dialogue in English was more or less just variations on the phrase “oh fuck.” That being said, I love the cult plot line and the ending goes so off the wall crazy I couldn’t help but be entertained. So not perfect, but passable.
The final segment by Jason Eisner kind of has the best name. Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Not kidding. Also, it has a super cute puppy. Problem here is that they decide to put the camera on the puppy. For puppy cam. And, well, while it’s cute at first with his floppy ears framing each shot, it grows old really fast when you realize you can’t tell what the hell is happening. It’s so dark, there’s so much movement, it’s just really hard to see. It becomes really hard to follow and stops making any sense. Aliens are outside, then they’re inside, people are in the lake for some reason, then they’re out of the lake, cops show up, cops disappear. The aliens have all sorts of weird flashing lights that make things even more confusing.
And then they drop the dog.
I can’t even.
Okay, so maybe I’m just really upset by the dog dropping and the final shot of a whimpering, dying puppy. Not okay. So not okay.
These are the things that upset me. Not weird demon births or zombies snacking on entrails. No. Aliens killing a puppy. It’s just so wrong.
Taking a breath now.
So yeah. That’s V/H/S 2. It’s okay and I think if you liked the first one probably worth seeing. If you didn’t like the first one or aren’t into the whole found footage thing, this one is probably a pass. Ride in the Park is really fun but other than that you’re not missing much.
I was planning on watching more for the V/H/S week but since I ending up adding more women directors and I’m a few days behind, I’m gonna cut this section off at one more. Yesterday I wrote about The Signal and the other movie I’m going to watch is Lovely Molly. It’s also by Eduardo Sanchez so I’m hoping I’ll like it. Fingers crossed!