Monday, October 8, 2012

V/H/S (2012) Review

V/H/S movie poster
Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence
Genre: Horror

V/H/S is a found footage anthology horror film with five different stories and one overlapping story, each by different directors. I will review each segment individually and then give a final conclusion of the film as a whole.

Tape 56
Tape 56 is the main story line that continues in-between each short segment. There's really not much to it, it's about some assholes who are hired to rob a VHS tape from a house, no reason given as to why or what was on the tape, just that they would "know it when they see it". They break into the house and they find a dead guy sitting in a chair in front of static television sets. There are dozens of tapes around the house and they check all the tapes in the VHS player, which serves as the means to showing us each segment.

Nothing else really happens and there is virtually no conclusion. The plot is almost non-existent and we're never satisfied with a conclusion or anything. This really only exists to show us the five shorts, but it would have been nice if it had a bit more substance to it.

Amateur Night
This is the first tape they play. It's about three douche-bag guys who go out and pick up girls and plan to record a porno with their spy camera glasses. Yeah, those type of guys. However, things go wrong when one of the girls turns out to be a demon Succubus, who proceeds in brutally ripping apart the three guys. It was pretty great watching those douche bags die.

I'd say that this is one of my favorite of the five. It's stylishly the best, with creepy imagery of the succubus standing in the hotel room with her hands over her head, while we only really see her silhouette in the darkness. It's all very cool and the effects were done pretty well. The end was...eh, it was suffice enough.

V/H/S - Amateur Night

Second Honeymoon
The second tape is about a couple on their honeymoon and their stay in a hotel room. The wife records just about everything as a memento. They encounter an odd woman who knocks on their door and later, while both are asleep, there is an unknown person recording them as they sleep. The next night they do it again, this time taking out a switchblade and stabbing the husband in the neck. Then there's a kind of dumb twist at the end.

This one was probably the most suspenseful of the lot, and the shot with the switchblade reminded me of something you'd see in a Dario Argento film. Besides that it's pretty dull and nothing really happens. The suspense never really goes anywhere and the ending isn't too satisfying.

V/H/S - Second Honeymoon

Tuesday the 17th
This one is about four friends who go out to the woods together, only to be hunted down by a killer who you can only see through a camera, and even then is very glitchy and blurry. It's basically a typical slasher story, and the director knows it, hence the name.

This one wasn't bad, but like all slashers it started out pretty scary but by the end it became a bit typical. The killer was kind of cool, kind of reminded me of MarbleHornets with the whole technology thing. It was enjoyable though and the brunette girl was pretty damn creepy.

V/H/S - Tuesday the 17th

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
I can't really explain the plot too much here due to spoilers, but it's about a girl who talks to her boyfriend through webcam and she believes that her apartment is haunted and she sees ghosts every night.

I actually really liked the plot of this one, it's probably the best one. [Quick spoiler here] it involves alien breeding and weird shit like that. Unfortunately the delivery wasn't too great and it felt like I was watching...Paranormal Activity or something. Still cool though.

V/H/S - The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

10/31/98
This is the last tape. It follows four friends who try and go to a Halloween party, dressed as a marine, a nanny cam, a pirate, and one guy was dressed as the fucking Unabomber. Awesome! When they arrive at the house it's empty but there are some very supernatural things going on. At first the group believes it is a haunted house that was set up for the party, but they soon find out otherwise. They run into a group of men beating a bondaged woman and they save her, but she isn't exactly what she appears to be.

This one and the first one are probably my two favorites. This one doesn't really do anything new, but it's fun as hell and even funny at some points (just like the first one). This one was directed by Chad, Matt & Rob, the guys who run the very popular YouTube channel, well known for their scary prank videos.

V/H/S - 10/31/98

Conclusion
It's definitely a fun ride. It's nearly two hours long but it goes by pretty fast in the first viewing, however I could see it being pretty boring on a re-watch. V/H/S doesn't really do anything new or unique, it doesn't even tell a semi-decent story, but it is fun, and scary at times, and even funny. A lot of the scares are cheap but there's some genuinely well-crafted scares too. The acting is good enough, and it stars all unknown actors which adds to the effect that the shorts are real.

It seems all the shorts did their best to avoid many found footage conventions, i.e., shaky cam running in Blair Witch Project. And it actually does a good job at this, avoiding most of the things many people hate about found footage films. A fun, mindless ride. One of the better found footage films, especially recently.

Recommended for: fans of found footage or horror anthologies

3/5 stars

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