Tons of violence, over-the-top gore in anthology sequel.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that V/H/S/2 is an anthology horror film that's a sequel to 2012's V/H/S, which did poorly in theaters but well on DVD/streaming. This installment has a largely new cast and crew, though it takes place in the same creepy house. Violence is very strong and gory, including disemboweling, mass suicides, failed suicides (and gaping wounds), ghosts, aliens, zombies, dead bodies, a dead dog, and huge spatters of blood. Two topless women are shown, and two sex acts (one of them is fairly hardcore, though it's very brief). Language is very strong in two of the segments, with multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t," among other words. Teens drink alcohol in one scene during the final segment.
What's the story?
A detective and his partner -- who are searching for one of the missing teens from V/H/S -- find the creepy house with the buzzing TV sets and the stacks of VHS videocassettes. Naturally, they start watching a few. The first one is about a man who gets an eye transplant and starts seeing ghosts. Next, a biker films himself riding along a trail when zombies attack (his helmet camera becomes a zombie-cam). In the third segment, a film crew tries to get the inside scoop on an Indonesian religious cult, but their own dirty secrets betray them. And, finally, attacking aliens disrupt a teen slumber party. Meanwhile, strange things are happening in the house.
Is it any good?
Aside from the somewhat lazy wraparound sequence, the ideas here are fairly inspired. The trick with V/H/S/2, as well as with V/H/S, is coming up with excuses for characters to film themselves just before bad things happen. As with the first movie, low quality is actually the goal, but only in the fourth segment is the hand-held camerawork nausea-inducing. And even then, as the barely visible aliens advance toward the camera, the technique induces queasy panic.
Mostly though, this is a surprisingly professional and surprisingly effective movie. There are no real characters to speak of, and it's all about the sensation. The movie's approach simulates a viewer's point of view -- the viewer is the major character -- but it adds an extra layer of terror by removing the option to look away or blink. It can be genuinely scary. Only the extreme gore, which has a tendency to slowly and sickeningly increase over time, could be a drawback for true horror fans.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about V/H/S/2's violence. Is a horror movie scarier with lots of blood? What's the impact of showing so much gore? What's the appeal of over-the-top violence?
What makes the movie scary? Are the monsters scary, or is it the way that the movie tells the stories?
For the YouTube generation, when everything is public and online, what's the appeal of VHS tapes?
|Theatrical release date:||July 12, 2013|
|DVD/Streaming release date:||September 24, 2013|
|Cast:||Hannah Hughes, Kelsy Abbott, Lawrence Michael Levine|
|Directors:||Eduardo Sanchez, Gareth Evans|
|Run time:||96 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||graphic and bloody violence, grisly images, sexual material, nudity and language|
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