V/H/S/2 Provides More Stale Gimmicks Than Frights


As with its horror-anthology predecessor, V/H/S/2 assumes that the scuzzy analog distortion and old-school graphics that coat its action—all of which purports to have been recorded on video cassettes—give it a digital-manipulation-free authenticity, when in fact they merely provide a gimmick to tether together rote supernatural stories. There isn’t a scare to be found in the series’s second installment, which has a private investigator and his assistant finding a stash of tapes that contain sagas involving ghosts, zombies, cult crazies, horned goat demons, and abducting aliens—creepy creatures who, faux-realism be damned, often seem to have been computer-created or enhanced. Then again, it’s hard to be frightened when the filmmakers (Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Simon Barrett, and Adam Wingard) are so devoid of original ideas that two separate vignettes feature a hand slowly removing a sheet off of a motionless body, as well as Blair Witch–style dropped-on-its-side final camcorder shots. That the concluding segment boasts surprisingly static cinematography from a camera affixed to the head of a dog would seem a prime opportunity for goofy auto-critique. Alas, without tongue-in-cheek self-awareness, it’s just further proof of this aesthetically cruddy subgenre’s further devolution.