Criticsm Vs. Bullying: Rex Reed’s V/H/S/2 Review Is A Slap To The Face Of Film Criticism


Well, well, well – we meet again Rex Reed. Last time I found myself writing about your brash, mean-spirited commentary which unjustly attacked Melissa McCarthy for absolutely no reason, and despite wanting to boil over like a covered pot of spaghetti, I kept myself fact based, professional, to the point, and lacking of the cheap personal attacks you lowered yourself to using. I thought “Maybe this was one slip up. Maybe Reed will clean his act up. Maybe Reed will just slink away into the sunset like a respectful professional.”

But here I am, again, after this week’s crop of reviews, back for another therapeutic rant. Who did Reed insult this time? Oh, just about everyone. The entire horror community, his readers, numerous filmmakers, and anyone that cares about film and/or journalism. First of all, he hated Pacific Rim, which I thoroughly enjoyed opening night, but critics are entitled to their opinion – it’s the nature of the game. What is disgusting though is his repeated lack of knowledge about the films he “critiques,” as again he adamantly presents a statement that is completely false. But we’ll get to that a little later.

What pushed me to this article was even more inexcusable. All factual errors aside, Rex Reed found it necessary to review V/H/S/2 (which I loved), and showing he has absolutely no stomach for horror, this is what he produced:

In this indescribably gory, violent, plotless and deranged purloin of every horror movie ever made by amateurs with a wobbly, nauseating handheld camera, seven unknown directors hell-bent on remaining that way enter a dark, deserted house containing a pile of VHS tapes. One by one, they insert the tapes, and onto the screen flash five episodic creep shows involving a mountain biker pursued by flesh-eating zombies, a cult of Satan worshipers and a sleepover invaded by psycho kidnappers told from the perspective of a GoPro camera attached to the back of a dog. V/H/S/2 is a diabolically psychotic, sub-mental and completely unwatchable disaster that I happily deserted when a man with a retinal implant scooped out his bionic eye with a sharp object, splattering blood all over the camera. Your move, and you’re welcome to it.

Oh no, that’s not just a snippet – that’s his whole review.

As stated, I played very nice in my article about Reed and McCarthy’s situation. I stayed cool, calm, and collected, presented my argument and opinion in the most proper way possible, and simply provided another onlooker’s insights into the problems the entire profession of film journalism faces with egotistical miscreants like Mr. Reed running around and sullying its reputation. Mr. Reed was out of line, gives film reviewers a bad name, and that’s what I discussed.

But now you’re going to step into the ring of horror, disrespect a billion people along the way, and think nothing of it? Now you’ve done it. Horror is my genre, and you better believe a hack “review” like the one above makes my blood boil. Gloves are off. This is just ridiculous now. Let’s seriously dissect what Mr. Reed accomplished by throwing some words together and mistakenly thinking he’d produced a viable piece of film criticism.

For starters, he only made it through a small portion of the movie. I get horror isn’t for everyone, but c’mon, if you’re not willing to sit through an ENTIRE movie, you don’t have the right to comment on it – ESPECIALLY AN ANTHOLOGY MOVIE. The point Rex references when Adam Wingard’s character cuts out his bionic eye isn’t even the ending of the very first segment, so not only did Rex fail to even catch the ending of “Phase I Clinical Trials,” but he absolutely ignored the three other segments and the rest of Simon Barrett’s work that provided the tie-in material. Did that stop Reed from posting a review that trashed the film as a whole, unjustly? Of course not! Mr. Reed is so knowledgeable about movies, he doesn’t need to even finish them in order to spout prolific lines of detailed film analysis. He can’t be wasting his time watching EVERY SINGLE MOVIE! Don’t be absurd.

Mr. Reed’s review of the horror anthology V/H/S/2 is the equivalent of me ordering a five-course meal, getting the salad, deciding I don’t like it, walking out on the rest of the meal, and then posting a review that said I had an absolutely dreadful full meal, each course worse than the last. How can I make that claim even though I only tasted the salad? I may have just passed up on the most delicious, succulent, taste-gasmic meal of my life aside from the salad, and the remaining food could have been perfectly fine, deserving praise instead of negative remarks – but instead, the other four courses are unjustly bashed out of foolish assumptions. Now imagine if four other chefs made those other four courses, and they’re reading a review saying their portion was equally garbage-worthy, even though the un-informed and thoughtless reviewer didn’t even bother to sample their dish. Make more sense now?

You ABSOLUTELY CANNOT rate something you didn’t watch. That’s Film Criticism 101. Sorry, actually, that’s just having professional integrity.