Oct 18, 2015
Day 18: V/H/S 2 (2013)
I fully admit that I didn't want to watch V/H/S 2. I whined and hemmed and hawed like a four-year-old who doesn't want to pick up her toys and go to bed. I went through all seven stages of grief. I decided that I hate myself, I hate horror movies, I hate this blog, I hate SHOCKtober, I hate you. Finally I couldn't put it off any longer, and I started it, reminding myself that I only had myself to blame for this predicament; there are plenty of movies on Netflix that are not V/H/S 2, after all. I think I added it to the SHOCKtober lineup as some kind of exposure therapy; like if I were to just confront the movie head on by sitting through it, perhaps I could overcome my loathing of "bro horror." Maybe I'd even like it!
SPOILER ALERT: I did not like it.
In the first story, a young slob gets an experimental camera eye implant and soon discovers that it allows him to see ghosts–or at least, they are people who are sort of grey and they have dark circles under their eyes and they look glum. A fellow patient named Clarissa shows up at the slob's house and (ahem) explains it all: she got a hearing implant that allows her to hear the ghosts. The only way to get them to go away is for Clarissa to get her tits out and have sex with the slob. I was reluctant to watch the movie, sure, but it wasn't until this point in the proceedings that I was questioning every life choice I've ever made, and how I had come to this moment.
The second story features a mountain biker with a GoPro camera strapped to his helmet; he runs afoul of some zombies and soon becomes a zombie himself, the camera running the whole time.
The third story follows an inept news crew (I guess? who fucking knows who these people are) as they investigate a cult and then there are demons.
The last story has awful children playing pranks on an older sister and her friends, and then there are aliens.
The framing narrative is so pointless that beyond "someone watches all the stories on VHS tapes", I don't even care. I turned it off a few minutes before the end in order to reclaim my life, take back the night, etc etc.
I know this is an anthology and there isn't time to really dig in and indulge in amazing storytelling, but here's the thing: each story in V/H/S/ 2 feels like the result of "Wouldn't it be cool if this happened?", which, you know, is perfectly fine. Build your segment around a premise! That's what many writers and directors do. But for fuck's sake, if there is going to be dialogue, the premise alone is simply not enough. The only successful story in this film is the second one, the zombie with a GoPro. It's entertaining and it works because it's a rare case where the idea alone is enough. The main character is like "I'm gonna ride my bike!" and then he does, and then he gets bit, and then he attacks people, the end. It's novel and kind of funny, and that's all it needs to be.
But every other story is brought down by dialogue that consists largely of "What the fuck?" "Fuck you!" "Fuck fuck!" "Fuuuuck!" and so on. Now, I am certainly not averse to such colorful language; you might even say I am a connoisseur des cusses. But thinking back on some of my favorite anthologies–films like Creepshow–it's the writing that sets it apart. More to the point, it's the characters. Creepshow is nothing more than a bunch of "Wouldn't it be cool if this happened?" stories–wouldn't it be cool if mean ol' dad came back from the dead? Wouldn't it be cool if there was a monster in the crate? But the script, although full of plenty of "fuck"s, puts the characters over the premises, and that's a huge reason why it's so memorable.
Granted, I realize that none of the dudes behind V/H/S 2 are on the level of Creepshow's George Romero or Stephen King. But still, it's worth trying to go beyond "What the fuck?" *jump scare* "Fuuuuck!" *head blown off with shotgun* "Fuck fuck fuck!" *gore*
I don't know, maybe it's me. And that's fine! There are many flavors of horror, after all. It's just that this exposure therapy doesn't seem to be taking, and honestly, I'm not going to try anymore.