The first actual segment of this one is Phase 1 Clinical Trials. A man who lost the vision in one eye has an ocular implant put in, and begins to see dead people. A woman with similar experiences shows up at his door, and soon they are attacked by the ghosts. The acting in this segment is rough, and the story is paper thin, borrowing from much better movies. The ghosts are somewhat cool looking though, so it at least has that going for it. The access to this found footage is via the recordings the lab has, taken directly from the patient's eye. Unlike with the original film, this movie starts off with a bit of a whimper.
Next up is A Ride In The Park. We see a bicyclist attacked and bitten by a zombie. After a short bit of time, the man turns into a zombie himself and, meeting up with more of the reanimated, goes searching for brains. This segment is seen entirely from the point of view of the camera on the bicyclist's helmet. You get the sense that this was shot a little tongue in cheek--the zombies look a bit more comical than scary, though the end is rather intense. This is not a bad story, but not a particularly memorable one either.
Safe Haven is the third segment of this movie. A news crew shoots a documentary to show the lifestyle of an Indonesian cult. Going into this with the idea the cult is just nonsense, the crew discovers the truth is a lot more sinister. The segment seems to take ages to develop, but once it gets going, it really takes off. The blood flies and the body count adds up quickly, as we see murder, suicide, and mayhem unleashed. Though we see the blood, the footage goes grainy upon the initial blow, which is odd but somehow effective. There is something quite distracting about how this one is shot--we start off seeing everything through various cameras, but as the story progresses, we switch to seeing is all from first person points of view, making it seem like found footage, but not really. While I like the idea of the characters not carrying around a camera while running for their lives, switching to this style of shooting made the rest of the piece feel much more like a video game than a movie. Even with this, Safe Haven is still the best segment in this movie, and the creature reveal at the end is awesome.
Our final segment is Slumber Party Alien Abduction...yes, that pretty much says it all for this one! The kids at the party are all rather annoying, so seeing them meet their demise is satisfying. There isn't a lot going on before we see the aliens, but what little there is really has no redeeming qualities. All of this segment is through a camera, and it is passed around by the kids, but when the alien attacks starts, and through the end of the story, we see it from the point of view of the small dog that has the camera strapped to it...a point for creativity has to be given here! The aliens look frightening, making the finals several minutes of this one terrifying.
The conclusion of Tape 49 takes us home in impressive fashion. It was nice too see V/H/S/2 go away from some of the issues I had with the first movie--in panic, the characters do more than scream profanities, and the cast here is much more diverse than a bunch of frat boys. We also see the segments cut down from five to four, shaving off about 20 minutes. While I love these things, this movie largely fails to deliver the scares found in the first film--the aliens notwithstanding. V/H/S/2 is a good followup to the first film, but is a step down from that one.
On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6