V/H/S/2 (Barrett, Eisener, Evans, Hale, Sánchez, Tjahjanto & Wingard, 2013)

Last year’s V/H/S, while agreeably divisive, managed to partially reinvigorate the genre through a cleverly implemented if oft-seen found footage approach and genuine chills. As is common with anthologies however, the quality of these segments varies based on a particular writer or director’s palette and their general abilities as filmmakers. Regardless, V/H/S/2‘s predecessor set the bar a bit higher for schlocky mainstream garbage thanks to its inventiveness, paving the way toward this marginally superior sequel and bringing to our attention potential new horror wunderkinds.

While the similar introductory wraparound bit dispersed throughout the proceedings is once again serviceable if just barely, what remains front and center are the individual segments themselves. Sporting barebones thematic substance dealing heavily with the supernatural and undead, shock value remains plentiful as mild found footage-esque authenticity, sheer terror, tension and even mystery permeate a majority of the proceedings.

V/H/S/2‘s noticeably stronger bits – “A Ride in the Park,” “Safe Haven” and “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” namely – all succeed largely thanks to their boldness in addressing well-worn horror tropes. Across the board aliens, disillusioned religious fanatics, restless spirits and zombies all receive their respective facelifts, the film as a whole remaining admirable much like the first even though the aberrant gore factor is ramped up substantially, early on and throughout.

Capitalizing on its obvious strengths, V/H/S/2 largely succeeds as a marginally superior sequel and palpably terrifying exercise in contemporary horror. Predictably flip-flopping between effective, genuine, sometimes anxiety-inducing genius and the borderline mundane, it succumbs to the obvious perils of film anthology composition but doesn’t waver in the face of adversity. Put simply, if you’re any type of horror buff or casual viewer looking for competent and sheer terror, V/H/S/2 is solid genre entertainment.

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