Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
Tape 49: Directed by Simon Barrett. At the beginning. This is the base story for the compilation. A private investigator and his woman go to a home in search of a missing man. They enter the house and find it abandoned except for some flickering TV screens and an ass load of VHS tapes. The man wonders off to look for the missing person and his woman proceeds to watch the tapes….
Phase 1 Clinical Trials: Directed by Adam Wingard. The video involves a man who lost his eye in accident and has an experimental robotic eye implanted which acts a video camera and records everything he sees. Kind of a clever way to go for the found footage perspective. Anyway, he proceeds to see dead people because of the prosthetic and connects with a chick that has a cochlear implant and hears dead people. I don’t get it. The only way that she can make her creepy dead uncle stop haunting them is to have sex in front of his ghost. Again, I don’t get it. Things get bad when the ghosts get rowdy and kill the girl and attack the man. The end I guess?
A Ride in the Park: Directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale. This was the only one of the shorts that I really liked. A man is on a lovely bike ride through the woods, with a camera mounted on his helmet, when he encounters a wounded woman running from the trees crying and asking for help. He tries to find her boyfriend, who she is begging him to help but he is beyond help and so is she. The pair are infected with a zombie virus and the man is bitten, dies and becomes a zombie as well. With the video being shot from his helmet cam, the viewer is given a zombie story from the perspective of the zombie. I really liked this take on a zombie story and enjoyed this tale of zombie unlife and redeath.
Safe Haven: Directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Huw Evans. This one wasn’t too horrible. In Indonesia, a group of reporters (I think) talk their way into a commune to interview and film a cult leader and his followers. It all comes off like we would expect from a cult; docile and loyal women, children and men all dressed the same and eerily smiling all the time. We even get a creepy vibe when one of the reporters says something to one of the girls about being a child and she replies, I am a woman now because Father- and she is cut off in mid sentence. Anyway, things get really weird as the Leader starts saying crazy shit over the PA and then jumps over his desk and kills one of the reporters. Mayhem ensues with mass suicide and murder of everyone in the building, except for the only female reporter and one male reporter. She is dragged down a hallway by some weird chicks and as the man searches for her, all of the people that committed suicide come back to life. He finally finds the woman only to witness a horn or claw or something burst through her stomach and as some kind of creature is born. So it was kind of interesting but the monster looked cheesy.
Slumber Party Alien Abduction: Directed by Jason Eisener. I really didn’t care for this one at all. Some sibling have their friends over when their mother leaves for the night and oddly, an alien abduction ensues. The cameras are shaky, in a bad way, and the scenes where the aliens are chasing the kids are so hard to watch because of this. There is also a camera attached to the dog which is even harder to watch. I didn’t like the story or acting or the way it was shot.
Tape 49: At the end. So the woman has watched the tapes and when the man comes back, he finds her dead of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He watches a tape with the word Watch written on it and discovers that the missing man blew off half his face with a shotgun. He didn’t die and sits up looking into the camera. The whole time the dead/undead man has been in the house watching them and now the woman is also dead/undead and chases her boyfriend directly to the other monster or whatever it is and is killed.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t like VHS and sadly, even after hearing good things about it, I didn’t care too much for VHS 2 either. It was certainly better than the first one and I really did ‘A Ride in the Park’ but it just doesn’t work for me overall. This did not provide any good scares or horror on Halloween. I have to say avoid this flick but if you can find ‘A Ride in the Park’ on Youtube, watch it. It’s the only worthwhile one of the bunch.