First thing, the wrap around story is almost as annoying as the one in VHS because it’s a continuation from the original film. A private detective is hired to find one of the extremely annoying college kids from the 1st film and winds up in the same dark house. He tells his assistant to watch the video footage, maybe there will be a clue on them. So we enter the segments.
Clinical Trials follows a man who gets an experimental eye implant. The digital eye boosts all the optic wavelengths, which in turn has the disturbing side-effect of enabling him to see ghosts. It is damn unnerving to have knowledge of all the spiritual activity surrounding him. There is one scene that didn’t make too much sense to me but I guess they had to throw some nudity in here somewhere. The biggest drawback was that the character in this was a bit of a dill-weed and I didn’t really care about him. However, it was a decent segment and equal to the quality of the original VHS.
A Ride in the Park follows a young man on his morning bike ride through a large wilderness park. He has one of those helmet cams on the roof of his noggin. A screaming lady runs out of the woods in front of him and when he stops to help her, zombie horde city! There are a few nice wrinkles in this zombie tale including a contradiction to the notion that zombies have no memory of their past life. A fun segment with some comedic aspects added to the gore.
Safe Haven follows a news team that is let into the compound of a secretive cult. The team doesn’t know there is a reason they were chosen to enter the commune and it has to do with one reporters unborn child. As the investigation and interviews proceed, the cult leader starts chanting into a PA system and literally, all hell breaks loose! This one will get your heart pumping with echoes of The Evil Dead (1981). There’s even a Sam Raimi style ‘punch line’ at the very end which made me laugh. Despite the punch line, this is the creepiest segment of all.
Slumber Party Alien Abduction follows a young woman and her bratty younger brother who continuously prank each other and capture it all on camera. In one piece of footage, there are some light anomalies on the lake behind their house. Later that night a piercing sound shatters the dark and they are in the midst of aliens who chase them down and attempt to kidnap them. It’s total chaos as these creatures disappear and reappear in different places, hunting them down. After watching some lousy alien abduction films lately, this one really makes the situation tense. It’s edgy and ramps up the scares, perhaps revitalizing this sub-genre of horror.
The wrap around story concludes with not much interest from me. I would say that the first two segments were as good as the ones from the original VHS, but the last two were better than the stories in the previous film. The real time aspect of found footage films doesn’t leave a lot of room for depth of a story but I think that’s what people like about these films – everything is in the here-and-now. There was a little more attention to storyline and plot, especially in Safe Haven and except for the first segment, I actually liked the characters in the stories of this film. So my opinion is that, overall, this film is a better film than its predecessor. Recommended for those who like FF films, anthologies, and ‘action-horror’ (yes, I’m coining a new sub-genre).