V/H/S/2

2013review_horror

Boo. Now turn off the lights, pull your feet in under the covers, and keep reading for a look at our choices for the Best Horror Movies of 2013.

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discs prince of darkness carpenter

Welcome back to a slightly revamped version of This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Prince of Darkness Members of a college physics class take on an extra credit project after a local priest (Donald Pleasance) hips them to the presence of a strange, glowing container in the basement of an abandoned church. The students make some extraordinary discoveries including the fact that the goo inside may actually be a physical representation of Satan! Or something. John Carpenter‘s last great film was 1994’s In the Mouth of Madness, but seven years earlier he delivered this equally fun horror flick pitting several semi-familiar faces (including a Simon brother!) against a possessed mob of homeless people. One by one the grad students fall victim to the devil’s whims, and Carpenter embraces the silliness of it all while still managing to deliver some thrills including one of his best endings ever. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray offers a beautiful new transfer, and while the extras are slim it’s still a must own for genre fans. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, interviews]

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VHS2_still2_NA

Editor’s note: This review of V/H/S/2 originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was going under the title S-VHS. We’re re-running it now as the film hits VOD and a limited theatrical roll-out this Friday. Reactions were understandably mixed to last year’s horror anthology film V/H/S, but there was enough of a positive response to encourage the team to move forward on a new incarnation. No, it’s not time for Laserdisc yet (maybe next year), but in its place we have the forgotten future of video tape…  S-VHS. In addition to changing out most of the writers/directors from the first film (only Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard remain) they’ve also, wisely, shortened the experience by sticking to four shorts (plus wraparound) instead of five. This time the “story” that brings the shorts together involves a pair of inept private eyes investigating the disappearance of a college student. They break into his ratty house and decide their investigation would be best served watching the unlabeled videotapes strewn about the living room. The four stories that follow are a mixed bag quality-wise, but thankfully there are none as bad as the “dumbasses in the woods” segment from the first movie. The concept remains that everything we see was filmed entirely on personal cams to give a POV sensation. If they do share a theme with each other it’s more laughs/fewer scares — which I gotta say is kind of odd for a so-called horror movie.

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vhs2-kelsy-abbot-television-screens

Are you confused by the wealth of horror talent that’s behind this week’s new release horror anthology release V/H/S/2? No one could blame you for such confusion – after all, we are in the middle of a kind of horror anthology renaissance (if you’re willing to call the wide release of three horror anthology films in just one year’s time – the two V/H/S films and The ABCs of Death – a renaissance, which we very much are, because our local theaters were so deprived of such a genre for so long and come on), so the sudden influx of so much hot, fresh horror into your terrified eyeballs might be a bit too much to not only stomach but also to remember in terms of resume listings. Just who did what? And what are they doing next? And why does that name sound so familiar? Let us guide you, thanks to an actual guide created for this specific reason. At the very least, it will give you something to reflect on while you scream in abject terror during the film itself (full disclosure: we screamed in abject terror during just one segment in V/H/S/2, and it’s absolutely the one that will make you scream in terror, too, at least if you’re afraid of homicidal cults, as any normal human being should be).

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IntroPOV

Technically speaking, a “POV shot” could count anything coupled with a reaction shot, or any over the shoulder shots – but that aside, there’s none better than the straight on, through-the-characters-eyes shot that’s been around almost as long as filmmaking has. It’s cemented itself in the craft since the 1940s, and has unsurprisingly taken a great array of variations over eight decades. Let’s look at some of the best, most iconic, uses of the classic POV shot, shall we?

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VOD: Jack the Giant Slayer

Something tall and smelly this way comes. No, it’s not the stench of a few weeks off that have plagued our patented, custom-built supercomputer known as the Video On Demand Power Ranker. It’s a movie from Bryan Singer, and not really the good kind. There’s also something delightful (maybe) for fans of short-form horror, fans of odd thrillers, the apocalypse and the grimace of Bruce Willis. Oh yeah, it’s all in there this week. And for your convenience, we’ve ranked them in order of worthiness for your hard-earned dollar.

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Tribeca Film Festival

Now that the Tribeca Film Festival has been effectively put to bed for the year (rest up, sweet festival), it’s time to reflect on what we loved best about New York City’s spring fling, from zombies to visual effects to more Sam Rockwell than might be advisable by most doctors. For a festival like Tribeca, which lately seems to being striving (and hard) to be more unique and more fresh than it might have been in the past, a traditional “best-of” list just didn’t seem right. After all, where in such a list would we write about geodesic domes and solid fashion choices made by pre-teen characters and, again, just like a lot of Sam Rockwell? The answer – nowhere – made this year’s listing wrap-up style obvious. We just wrote about what we liked best. So what were the twelve best things at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival? Let us tell you.

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VHS2

Forgive us if this new theatrical poster for the horror anthology sequel, V/H/S/2 didn’t so much terrify us as make us chuckle. “Who’s tracking you?” Oh, you maniacal little horror hounds, thank you for this, that clever sense of humor is what sets the talent-packed series apart from the rest of the scarefest pack, and we’re happy to see it represented in one-sheet form. For more V/H/S/2 goodies, give a read to Rob’s Sundance review of the film (he calls it “a shot in the arm for horror fans” and thinks “it would be great to see them continue to make it an annual tradition with new writers/directors sharing billing each time”) and Caitlin’s interview with the “Snack Pack” of directors behind the project. Such fun! V/H/S/2 hits VOD on June 6th and will be in theaters on July 12th. [Press Release, Entertainment Weekly]

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Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 2.25.56 PM

Horror fans rejoiced at the prospect of V/H/S, a horror anthology film directed by several up-and-coming indie genre directors, centered around a band of criminals watching VHS recordings of terrible happenings. Even before V/H/S was released, the wheels already began to turn on the film’s sequel, V/H/S/2, which is currently playing at the Tribeca Film Festival. Much like it’s predecessor, V/H/S/2 is comprised of a framing device and four short films (compared to the original film’s five). Simon Barrett (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next), directed the film’s framing device, “Tape 49,” about a private investigator and his assistant breaking into a house and going through all those terrifying VHS tapes. Barrett also wrote the segment directed by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next), “Phase 1 Clinical Trials,” in which Wingard starred as a rich boy whose bionic eye makes him see ghosts. Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale (The Blair Witch Project) directed “A Ride in the Park,” which is a largely comic chronicle of a biker’s metamorphosis into a zombie and the havoc that ensues after he is bitten. And Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun) directed the self-explanatory “Alien Abduction Slumber Party,” recorded from the POV of a little dog attached to a camera. The film is rounded out by Gareth Evans’ and Timo Tjahjanto’s Lucio Fulci-inspired “Safe Haven,” about reporters to record the inner sanctum of a cult, which involves both zombies and monsters. I sat down with the rather chatty group of Barrett, Eisener, Sanchez, and Wingard, mid-snack session, as they discussed what they learned from the first V/H/S, and how […]

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VHS Horror Movie

Recent horror release V/H/S was kind of a mixed bag, but that’s to be expected from anthology films that combine shorts from different filmmakers into a loosely connected whole. Regardless of which segments were your favorites, or which you thought didn’t work, it’s still pretty cool that V/H/S took little known filmmakers like the guys from Radio Silence and let them present their work alongside much-loved directors like Ti West and Joe Swanberg. So, good news for horror fans and horror creators alike, V/H/S/2 is already in the works, and it’s already signed up some top notch directors.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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