V/H/S – Review
V/H/S is another “found footage” film that finds a nice fit within the Horror anthology template. The quality of footage varies from story to story which adds a unique quality of realism to the package as a whole. The only 2 directors of the bunch that I recognize are Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead) and Ti West (The Inkeepers). There’s some great talent in this package including a few unknowns, who put together some of the more memorable entries in this flic.
A group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger than the last.
V/H/S consists of 5 short films joined by a wraparound. Of the five tales, two of them really stood out for me. The first one by David Bruckner called Amateur Night, and probably my favorite, starts out with a group of guys hitting the bars to pick up and film women using a hidden camera. After they find their willing partners, a bloodbath erupts in their hotel room as the unimaginable happens. Of course, being what it is, Amateur Night sets the bar high for the rest of the film with some great effects and lots of gore.
The other segment I really enjoyed was 10/31/98 where a group of friends find themselves in a haunted house where some form of brutal exorcism is underway. In an attempt to save the girl, they must fight their way through the house as it closes in on them. Excellent, creepy effects, and actually a little scary at times.
The remainder of the shorts were pretty good, but didn’t feel quite as fulfilling as the above two. Joe Swanburg’s A Strange Thing Happened To Emily ended up being a little spooky, but not really easy to follow. The entire short is conducted on a two way web cam. Glenn McQuaid’s Tuesday the 17th had potential, but leaves you thinking WTF. It’s somewhat of a supernatural revenge story that just seems to fizzle by the end. Finally Ti West’s Second Honeymoon feels a little too familiar. It’s well done, and it does have a creepy feeling to it, but its been done before.
The wraparound does little more than serve as a vehicle to play the tapes. A lot happens, but its so vague, you end up just wanting the character to put the next tape in. The beauty of the anthology format is that no one story really overstays its welcome, and unfortunately the wraparound is the weakest link in the chain.
Overall, the “found footage” genre is getting a little tired, but V/H/S manages to find new life in its bite sized formatting. Its an excellent collection of short stories on a budget, fun, scary and worth checking out. I’ve personally always been partial to the anthology format and I’d definitely add this one to my collection.