You can't keep a good horror anthology down, and despite the hit and miss nature of part one, V/H/S has been a considerable success for all concerned. A sequel was somewhat inevitable, and it's good to see that lessons have been learned along the way. V/H/S/2 is leaner, meaner and a lot more fun than the first entry in the series. Adam Wingard (Tape 56) is the only surviving member of the original outing, but fresh blood is provided by the makers of The Raid, Macabre, Hobo with a Shotgun and The Blair Witch Project.
Simon Barrett kicks things off with wraparound tale, 'Tape 59'. Despite writing credits on both movies, this is his first stab at directorial duties, and Tape 59 is far more rewarding than the first entry in the series. It's certainly not spectacular, but it will hold your attention throughout, and there is a neat twist in the final moments. Adam Wingard (You're Next) provides the first video short, with 'Phase I Clinical Trials'. It's a solid if unspectacular opening, but whereas the quality of V/H/S ebbed and flowed repeatedly, V/H/S/2 is a far more consistent affair.
Gregg Hale takes the next bite with zombie gore-fest, 'A Ride in the Park', reminiscent of Ben Wheatley's entry in The ABC's of Horror anthology. Only a lot more colourful. A lot of fun, but compared to the glorious excess of 'Safe Haven', Hale's entry shares more in common with a children's tea party. Directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid) and Timo Tjahjanto (L is for Libido), Safe Haven is one of the best short films you are ever likely to see. Words cannot describe how satisfying this instalment is, which could also be the films undoing, because nothing else comes close.
Which is a shame, because 'Slumber Party Alien Abduction' is a lot of fun too. Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun, Youngbuck) is proving himself quite the talent, and his alien invasion horror is funnier, smarter and more terrifying than the majority of full length features made today. All in all, V/H/S/2 is an entertaining ride. Shorter than its predecessor but tighter and more compact as a result. Found footage thrillers have been done to death, of course, but V/H/S/2 injects new life into a tired format, and Safe Haven is worth the price of the DVD alone. Recommended. AW