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Sundance '13 Review: S-VHS Is More Awesome Than the First One!

S-VHS

Directors: Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Edúardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Huw Evans, and Jason Eisener

Screenwriters: Simon Barrett, Jamie Nash, Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Huw Evans, John Davies and Jason Eisener

Cast: Adam Wingard, Lawrence Levine, L. C. Holt, Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Hughes

Official Synopsis: Inside a darkened house looms a column of TVs littered with VHS tapes, a pagan shrine to forgotten analog gods. The screens crackle and pop endlessly with monochrome vistas of static—white noise permeating the brain and fogging concentration. But you must fight the urge to relax: this is no mere movie night. Those obsolete spools contain more than just magnetic tape. They are imprinted with the very soul of evil.

From the demented minds that brought you last year’s V/H/S comes S-VHS, an all-new anthology of dread, madness, and gore. This follow-up ventures even further down the demented path blazed by its predecessor, discovering new and terrifying territory in the genre. This is modern horror at its most inventive, shrewdly subverting our expectations about viral videos in ways that are just as satisfying as they are sadistic. The result is the rarest of all tapes—a second generation with no loss of quality.

Story and Direction:

This ended being a hell of an entertaining horror anthology! It's a sequel to last year's Sundance hit V/H/S, which I loved! But, this sequel was a lot more awesome than the first! The stories were scarier, more brutal, had better production value, and were even more entertaining. This is a must watch film for any horror movie enthusiast, and if you're not, it's a great time to become one!

There were four short films in this one, and they're part of a bigger story of a universe in which supernatural events are caught on tape, and there are people out there that collect these tapes. The story is set up with a private investigator and his assistant looking for a young man who disappeared. They end up going to his house to look for clues, and as you might expect, there are a ton of VHS tapes laying around, so of course they need to be watched. Here's a brief breakdown of each short film:

The first segment is called “Clinical Trials” and was directed by Adam Wingard. It starts out with a guy who gets an eye transplant, receiving an experimental bionic eye with a recorder built in so that the doctors can monitor it for glitches. The new eye also comes complete with the ability to be able to see ghosts. This was a great start to an awesome film.

The second film is called “A Ride in the Park” and was directed by Edúardo Sanchez. It features a guy going mountain biking with a camera attached to his bike and helmet. After telling his wife he loves her, he sets out on a mountain biking adventure that leads him straight into zombie territory. While riding his bike, a screaming woman comes running out of the woods bleeding. He tries to help the woman but in the process he gets bitten by her after she becomes a zombie. Because of the biker's helmet cam, we get an interesting and different point of view of him becoming a zombie and attacking people. You've never seen a zombie film like this before, and it was very enjoyable. The short is both very funny and incredibly bloody and violent.

The third segment is called “Safe Haven” and was directed by Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid) and Timo Tjahjanto. The story follows a group of reporters who interview a cult leader in Indonesia. They go to the cult compound to try to find out the truth of what goes on there, but nothing can prepare them for the insanity that awaits. Things look sketchy when they first enter, but during the interview process a bell chimes and the cult leader starts to instigate a mass suicide, and at this point all hell breaks loose, and some really crazy shit starts to happen, the craziest of which I won't mention now. I don't want to ruin it for you, but it gets insanely crazy and violent. I would have loved to see this one as a feature length film. I love how this film escalates into complete and utter madness!

The fourth and final segment is called "Alien Abduction Slumber Party" and it was directed by Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun). This one follows a group of young teens friends spending the night together at a friends house unsupervised. What starts out as a funny night of pranks and hijinks turns into an insanely intense and violent alien invasion, and the aliens have come down for one purpose... to abduct this group of kids. This was an awesome segment that audiences are sure to love.

Performances:

The movie is full of actors that you most likely have never heard of before, and there are mixed performances from everyone. Some are good, others not so good, but in the end all of the sequences ended up being really entertaining regardless of the acting.

Similar To:

I'd like to think of these things happening in the world of The X-Files. I could easily see Mulder and Scully trying to solve these supernatural mysteries. Maybe the next X-Files movie should be an extension of VHS.

Chances That You'll See It In Theaters:

The first VHS film ended up doing pretty well, and I think the sequel will end up getting a bigger theatrical release. It definitely deserves it. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy this one. Even if you didn't like the first movie, you'll probably like this one.

Teaser Trailer:

 

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