V/H/S/2 ★★

"I just watched something really weird."

'V/H/S/2' sports better visual quality but even more inconsistent segments while still retaining the creepy, lingering atmosphere of a house filled with tapes in between each new vignette. It compiles another group of talented directors to bring their own horror shorts to the screen, some clearly better or more terrifying than others.

'Tape 49' is very creepy - a private investigator couple is tasked with investigating a woman's missing college son. They enter his home and are forced to sift through his webcam recordings and other mysterious VHS tapes to get answers, while entities lurk in the background and the situation becomes something else entirely. It's creepy seeing the son, face half blown off, lingering in the dark, watching, waiting. The final return to the house, though, really kills off a lot of the good that came before, with the signing off thumbs up the nail in the coffin.

'Phase 1 Clinical Trials' is a pretty solid opening for the VHS tape portions. There are a couple of good scares involving the ghosts and the main character's new, malfunctioning ocular implant, but they do grow stale kind of fast, especially after the introduction of a new, curious female who lets herself in and seemingly has all the answers. It gets a bit cheesy after this.

'A Ride in the Park' is my least favorite segment in the film; it's interesting experiencing a zombie outbreak from, well, a zombie's first person point of view, but there's really nothing else special or eye-opening about this one. The ending is quite ridiculous too, attempting to tug on the heartstrings but failing to do so accurately.

'Safe Haven' is a delight, especially for fans of 'The Sacrament,' where the story and ideas go hand-in-hand, or the Indonesian martial arts series 'The Raid,' as Gareth Evans co-directs here and employs several cast members from those two films. It gets batshit insane very quick (even the opening conversation with "Father" hints at what to come) and doesn't let its foot off the gas until the wild closing moments, fitting as an ending but also incredibly tacky and not as haunting as I remembered it being.

Finally, 'Slumber Party Alien Abduction' is, well, you guessed it: a group of teens having a sleepover when they're suddenly, blindingly attacked by aliens. They materialize out of thin air at times, grabbing them without question, while booming sirens and lights flash and vibrate the surroundings. It's one of the more jarring installments in the series, relentless in its attacks and confusion, and that ending is a certified gut punch that leaves me very sad.

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