12 December 2014

Too many /Slashes: V/H/S / V/H/S/2 / V/H/S: VIRAL


Alternate Title:
VHS Viral

USA, 2014
Directors: Marcel Sarmiento,
Gregg Bishop, Nacho Vigalondo,
Justin Benson & Aaron Moorehead


When I first heard that there would be another installment in the V/H/S franchise and that Rob Zombie would be involved in it, I was pretty hyped, hoping for some more badass insanity like we got in "V/H/S/2" - but then they announced the title: "V/H/S: Viral"... what? Videocassettes going viral? Ringu anyone?

Then they announced the directors: six not-that-special filmmakers
and NO Rob Zombie *sigh*
Then they announced that one segment was cut ("Gorgeous Vortex", directed by Todd Lincoln, the man behind the crapfest "The Apparition").
And then the reviews came in... almost all of them pretty negative.
Excitement level: zero.

Okay, now that I've seen it, I can wholeheartedly say that it's far from being as bad as I expected. Unfortunately, it's about as weak as the first one and nowhere near the awesomeness of the second one. "V/H/S: Viral" feels rushed, unfinished and messed up. The framing story - about an evil ice cream van and a viral video that has some kinda "Halloween 3"-effect on the viewer - is dumb, confusing and ultimately plain ridiculous, the three segments aren't connected to the wraparound, and even though it's only about 80 minutes long, it felt almost as dull as "V/H/S".

Segment #1 [-Dante The Great-] obviously isn't about Joe Dante, but about a magician called Dante who comes into property of an evil cloak that turns him into a Copperfield-like superstar. Aside from Justin Welborn's horrid performance and the fact that this segment is actually a mockumentary(!) which totally doesn't fit into the basic V/H/S concept, this was rather decent with lots of cool visuals
and a fun finale.

Segment #2 [-Parallel Monsters-] is badass, following a hobby-scientist who builds a machine that opens the door into a parallel dimension where satanic zeppelins fly around and people have flesh-eating monster genitalia. Original, inventive, entertaining, thrilling and batshit insane: this should be turned into a full feature!

Segment #3 [-Bonestorm-] is just stupid. A couple of obnoxious and unbearable skaterboys battling an armada of demonic ritualists. Awful CGI. Worst computer-generated fire I've seen in a very long time, also: why in god's name did they use CGI firecrackers??? Couldn't they afford real ones, goddammit?? In addition, it tries too hard to be oh-so-over-the-top and ends up really frustrating, the editing is all over the place, there's no suspense or scariness at all. Terrible.

 Not really worth checking out, doesn't matter if you're a fan or a hater of the V/H/S franchise.
V/H/S Viral Is Ridiculous And Lame.


Alternate Title:

German Title:
S-VHS aka V/H/S 2

USA / Canada / Indonesia, 2013
Directors: Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard,
EdĂșardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale,
Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto & Jason Eisener


(Seen and reviewed at the /SLASH Filmfestival 2013)
As you can see below, I wasn't exactly a fan of the first V/H/S, which is IMO an overhyped and rather annoying film that tried too hard to be fresh and original. Fortunately, the sequel is much better and didn't annoy me at all. Of course, it's still far from being a masterpiece, but it's definitely a massive improvement over the first part.

The framing segments are once again pretty mediocre and Adam Wingard's episode [-Phase I Clinical Trails-] could have been good (and actually starts out really good) but ends up rather meh - though its basic 'kinda Google Glass with a twist' concept is ace. Gladly, everyone else fully delivers.

"Blair Witch Project" mastermind EdĂșardo Sanchez delivers an entertaining little funfest [-A Ride in the Park-] about a biker who rides into a horde of zombies, gets bitten, dies and resurrects as blood-hungry but still quite 'human' zombie - and of course, we all get to see it from a POV perspective which adds to the fun.
"Hobo with a Shotgun" mastermind Jason Eisener once again proves that he's currently the coolest and most creative filmmaker in the genre by kicking ass with a super-cool segment [-Slumber Party Alien Abduction-] about an intense little alien invasion that happens to a bunch of kids during a slumber party - incl. best dog-death ever!

The absolute highight is [-Safe Haven-] by Gareth Evans ("The Raid") and Timo Tjahjanto ("Macabre") which could be only described as totally and utterly insane. A few filmmakers want to make a documentary about a weird Indonesian cult who live in an incredibly huge and eerie-looking complex where they prepare for the arrival of an otherworldly creature. Starts out tense, uncanny and unsettling, and ends up immensely brutal, incredily gory, batshit crazy and hilariously over-the-top. Holy fucking shit!

A must-see for fans AND haters of the first part.
V/H/S 2 ~ Valuable/High-Class/Superb, 2 Thumbs up!


USA, 2012
Directors: Adam Wingard, Ti West,
David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid,
Joe Swanberg & Radio Silence


(Seen and reviewed at the /SLASH Filmfestival 2012)
So, THIS is "V/H/S", this year's most-hyped, most-talked-about movie? I don't get it. What's so awesome about it? V/H/S is an overlong, poorly executed and spectacularly unscary found-footage anthology (that's where the originality ends...), consisting of 5 so-so epsiodes (VHS tapes) and an unappealing framing story. Nearly every single character is a douchebag, most of the shaky-cam is annoying as hell, and I hated the fact that none of the stories has a proper conclusion.

I got a kick out of the first episode [-Amateur Night-], mainly because of the cool use of webcam-glasses and the amazing performance by Hannah Fierman as succubus-like demon (badass make-up). I also enjoyed the uber-wild  last episode [-10/31/98-] which is basically a fun mix of "House Of The Devil", "Grave Encounters" & "Amityville Horror".

The rest is meh. Ti West's [-Second Honeymoon-] follows an unsympathetic couple on their... erm, secomd honeymoon, an episode that is about as slow and dull as most of his feature works. Episode 3 [-Tuesday The 17th-] introduces a mysterious killer that appears in some kinda tracking-error-form. Interesting premise, original concept, but completely un-frightening, way too long and ultimately frustratingly dumb.

Episode 4 [-The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger-] starts out interesting (young girl with alien fetus in her arm), but ends up weird and disappointing. The framing segments are so boring, sloppy and stupid, I still can't believe that they were directed by Adam Wingard, the man behind the outstanding "A Horrible Way To Die".

V/H/S ~ Vapid/Hollow/Stale

Wiki ~ Imdb


  1. I agree with you that the framing device directed by Adam Wingard. I didn't enjoy it more than you did but can't contest any of your issues with it. It's choppy but kind of what I expected from it's format.

    1. Maybe I've already seen too many found footage movies or maybe I'm just stupid. I didn't like it. Even the trailer looked mediocre to me.

  2. I have it on Tivo from last night. Will still watch it but will low expectations.

    1. Expect nothing, maybe you'll end up surprised :)

  3. I know the feeling. Some Amicus anthology horrors that I've seen usually end mid-horror, then someone out of the story explains what happened next, rather than the movie actually showing us!

    1. Yeah, Amicus knew how to make a proper anthology-horror-flick - but the filmmakers involved in V/H/S seem to have no idea.

  4. I just paid $11 on ppv for this garbage and want my money back. First and last story were the only good ones and the rest were either pointless, lethargic or both. The worst P/O/S I've seen in a while, I'd say.

  5. ...guess I'm with the minority with this one? I really (really) enjoyed it. o-o

    1. There were many people in the audience who loved the hell out of it - but there were also many who hated it, like me.

  6. The film seemed to think it could just cruise on by due to who made it, and because it was the first found footage anthology (unless you count Murder Collection, V.1)

    1. Yeah, they really thought "Hey, people like found footage, people like anthologies. Let's do a found footage anthology!"
      Uuuuh, sooo original... :/

  7. I know I enjoyed the first one more than you did but it did have some weak spots. Glad to see you enjoyed the tighter sequel.

    1. Yeah, Part 1 was rather meh, but Part 2 rocked a lot!

  8. Hey Maynard. Its Kyle. By the way I definitely agree with you on your review on the first V/H/S and its sequel V/H/S/2. Seriously you were so right about the first film and there are some issues with the first movie Maynard and you know I only like the first episode and the last episode in the first V/H/S and seriously the last episode was the best out of all the other episodes it did even surpass the first episode and I also hated the second, third and fourth episode of the first V/H/S. But you I know you hate director Ti West for me he's not that terrible I just consider him as a hit and miss director seriously I love his work on Cabin Fever 2(which was a huge improvement over Eli Roth's terrible movie because I hate Eli Roth he's my only hated director)and I'm planning to watch his work on The House Of The Devil, The Innkeepers and his work on The ABCS of Death. Seriously the second episode of V/H/S was dull and pointless but there's some nice gore in that episode. I almost enjoyed the third episode but I ended up becoming disappointed with it because it started out with some suspenceful scenes but it ended up disappointing me as much as you do. The fourth episode I could say the same thing as well because it was just as bad as the second and third episode because the fourth episode was very atmospheric but I ended up disappointed as well because it didn't have suspense and the plot was very confusing as well and I ended up becoming lost throughout that episode. But Maynard I totally agree with you on V/H/S/2 seriously part 2 is a huge improvement over the terrible over hyped part 1 and since you didn't like the first episode of V/H/S/2 for me I like it and it is a huge improvement over Adam Wingard's previous work on V/H/S. I seriously love Jason Eisner's work on the last episode about the Alien Invasion attack during a slumber party seriously I freaked out in that episode. But I love Eduardo Sanchez's and Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto's episodes and those are the best episodes in V/H/S/2 in my opinion seriously Safe Haven was super brutal and violent and extreme there were loads and loads of gore in that episode even A Ride In The Park episode the one directed by Eduardo Sanchez about the biker who turned into a zombie that was also the goriest episode of V/H/S/2 and it was also an extreme episode but I love how that episode was shot in a POV style that adds up the fun a lot. I agree with you that V/H/S/2 rocked more than the first V/H/S. Our ratings though are different since your rating for V/H/S is a 4.5/10 mine is a 5.5/10 because the first and last episodes were the only good thing about the first V/H/S. Since your rating for the sequel is a 7.5/10 mine is an 11/10 seriously V/H/S/2 is a huge surprise to me and it deserves to get that rating because all episodes in V/H/S/2 are fantastic and better than the episodes of the first V/H/S. Great review Maynard I'm glad you enjoyed watching the second V/H/S.


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