Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
This collection is killer.
When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.
V/H/S blends one of the newer fads in horror - the shaky found footage movie - with one of the oldest - the portmanteau anthology. It is an interesting blend, on paper at least, allowing the hottest new indie directors to flex their creative muscles in shorter form films whilst tackling a range of horror sub-genres. Unfortunately the results are far less interesting than the film’s potential. Rather than utilising the strengths of the portmanteau structure - allowing for wildly different stories with great hooks and twists - it merely accentuates the problem with the current trend of found footage stories.
Although the film works its way through most sub-genres of horror (vampires, stalkers etc.) all the self-contained stories are…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
There is always one thing that makes or breaks a horror anthology for me, and for some people it's probably the most dismissive aspect but to me; the most important. I like to have a decent wraparound story, it doesn't matter if it's tongue-in-cheek and "hosted" with a ghoul presenting each story, a realtor showing houses, a witch in her kitchen or an ominous meeting in the heart of a cemetery, it's the bow on the package. V/H/S managed to present a couple decent segments (despite being found-footage) and had an interesting concept but I really hated the wraparound story. Besides being both confusing and unpleasant, it was unsatisfying. I would have rather seen the punks from the start have…
So basically every story in this anthology plays out in the exact same way:
-Introduction of characters
- A bit of walking around
- Some groovy camera angles to enhance the found footage feel
- The teeniest tiniest bit of suspense
- Some yummie and scrumptious gore
All in all there were two stories I really liked, the third one because it is rather insane and the fourth one because it is actually creepy and weird. The rest is instantly forgettabe.
Usually in anthologies there is a common theme or connecting thread. The only one I could find here is that apparently everyone involved bought crappy cameras and suffered from Parkinson's disease.
I could not believe just how boring this film is. It does not even attempt to be the least bit scary, just gory. I wouldn't even call this torture porn because at least Saw and Hostel attempted to scare you. And when are these found footage movies going to die out.
VHS is everything I hate about modern horror films. Character building is replaced by shallow jump-scares, tension is replaced by boredom, shaky-cam is used to up the fear when in reality it serves to obscure and distract the viewer from the action. I am certainly no horror expert, but at least films like Psycho 2 and Scream 4 attempt to tell a cohesive narrative. VHS thinks that it is enough to just to have a shock nonsensical ending to superficial bite-size anthology segments. Ambiguity and surrealism is not, by itself, enough to make for an interesting story. Unfortunately, VHS is a blood-soaked CGI gore-fest that you will forget immediately after viewing - well I did at least. I also find…
There is a fundamental untidiness which impedes V/H/S; heavily and irritatingly mitigating any piquancy. Granted, it's inherently destined to be disconnected but this shouldn't culminate in a film with erratic levels of finesse and intrigue. However it ultimately does; subsequently equaling a cumbersome product that fitfully capitalizes on its theoretically inspired concept.
Except for the inclusion of found-footage, V/H/S's conceit is unorthodox and therefore immediately deserves praise for not lining up behind many foregoing 'horror' flicks. Strenuously attempting to link an anthology of short horror films to one overarching narrative, the handling may be visibly contrived but still makes for a fascinating and fruitful premise.
To quickly summarise my thoughts on each individual short: the first story is okay, the…
V/H/S is one of the more recent in a long string of cheaply-made, shoddily shot found footage horror movies, but it is somewhat unique in that it combines that fad with one of my favorite horror tropes: an anthology. And, although scattershot, V/H/S was occasionally very scary and definitely worth a watch at least for a few key moments.
As with many anthology films, V/H/S is a series of loosely-connected short film segments, and in this case, all revolving around supposed found footage film of supernatural and otherwise disturbing events. The segments are all connected, in some way, not only because they are all shot from hand-held devices, but because they are being watched, supposedly, in real time by the…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Some random thoughts:
1. I liked the Ti West segment. Take that, haters!
2. I liked all the segments, really, apart from the messy and annoying framing story. That one had creepy moments, but I was hoping those guys would all die much sooner than they did. Some of the most unlikable characters ever.
3. Some great actress casting, especially Lily the Succubus (Hannah Fierman). That chick had some freaky eyes even before turning into a monster. Also, Helen Rogers as Emily looks adorable, and I thought she was very good. I will have to see what other work she's done. (Poor, sweet Emily, going through this insanity.)
4. I was wondering if the dudes in the attic were actually…
Gosto como eles assumem uma subversão essencialmente formal aqui, já que quase todas as histórias meio que partem de alguma tradição já estabelecida no gênero. A coisa se limita a uma espécie de ressignificação pelo dispositivo e pela abordagem do found footage. O que, na maioria dos casos, funciona muito bem. Os melhores curtas (Amateur Night, 10/31/98, Tape 56) conseguem de fato reinventar toda uma dinâmica de cena através dessa dimensão subjetiva da câmera e na relação do aparato com os elementos fantásticos.
Listen to The Body | The Blood podcast on this film for in-depth thoughts: thebodytheblood.com/podcast-episodes/the-body-the-blood-3-vhs-2012/
I give this film a high rating, not because it is perfect (far from it!), but because I love the horror anthology concept so much that I hope films like V/H/S can reinvigorate the sub genre. Plus, I have massive respect for Ti West and Adam Wingard as directors and visionaries for the future of horror in general.
That is not to say that there are not weak points in the film, but, for a full baring out of those weaknesses, check out the podcast as Ian, Chris and I discuss it.
Ranking the Stories
1. Second Honeymoon - 4/5
2. Amateur Night - 4/5
3.10/31/98 - 3/5
4.The Sick Thing That happened to Emily when she was younger 2.5/5
5. Tuesday the 17th - 2.5/5
6. Tape 56-2/5
Well, the opening "I Like You" segment gives me enough reason to not sleep tonight.
The ending to the "Second Honeymoon" segment gives me enough reason to never sleep again.
Those are just the first two segments. Trust me, it gets way more fucked up from there.
Big fan of the first and last vignettes, and there's value to be found in all of the shorts here. Concepts and execution - considering budget - are largely excellent.
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…
I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…