Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Movie Review: "V/H/S" (2012)

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Director: Various
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

A group of thieves hired to steal a VHS tape from someone's home end up watching a stack of them, hoping to find the right one. Each tape depicts a horrific event taking place in a variety of different manners and methods. 

"V/H/S" is an anthology horror movie comprised of six different short films made by six different directors. The first segment is called "Tape 56," which is directed by Adam Wingard and is written by Simon Barrett, best known for their amazing film "The Guest" and their sub-par horror "Blair Witch." This portion is the one that connects the rest of the installments, and as each tape ends, the group depicted in "Tape 56" are shown watching them in the present. This group is comprised of a bunch of thieves who stupidly and inexplicably record all of their crimes. They have been hired to steal a specific VHS tape from a specific house. Once inside, they find a huge stash of tapes, and each member of the crew sits down to watch a different one. Here's what they watch.

First up, someone watches "Amateur Night," written and directed by David Bruckner. A group of guys go out to a club with a pair of hidden camera glasses in the hopes of picking up women in order to film them having sex. Drinking ensues, and they don't want the night to end, so the guys invite a couple of gals back to their hotel room. Unfortunately for the bros, one of the girls they pick up isn't what she seems. This segment has its fair share of gore and nudity, and the make up work is decent as well. It's one of the better short films, but it's still not all that great.

From there, we move onto "Second Honeymoon," directed by Ti West. This is a small scale slow-burning horror featuring a couple on a road trip. As they argue more and more as the road trip progresses, the entire thing builds to an unexpected conclusion, though the majority of this short simply features the aforementioned bickering. Overall, this one is kind of dull until the very end.

After a quick jump back to "Tape 56," which happens between each segment, we move on to "Tuesday The 17th," written and directed by Glenn McQuaid. This short has a stereotypical scenario where a group of teens goes out camping in the woods, complete with a lot of shaky camera work, some shots of the ground, and a little bit of gore accompanied by a few cool deaths. That's about it, there's really nothing else to mention for this one.

Up next is probably one of the weirder segments, one of our favorites, "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger," directed by Joe Swanberg. This short takes place entirely via an internet video chat between a woman and her boyfriend, who is away at school. The woman seems overly paranoid and a little clingy, and the boyfriend seems distracted and never really engrossed in their conversations. Suddenly, some weird things start to happen around the woman's house. As the days pass, things get progressively worse, and all is ultimately revealed in a very cool way. This short actually has genuine tension and a shocking ending that we really enjoyed. Seek this one out if you can.

Next up is "10/31/98," directed by Radio Silence. As you can tell by the title, it takes place on Halloween in 1998. This segment follows a group of friends on their way to a Halloween party. They arrive at party and discover more than they bargained for upstairs in the attic. This one has many, many shots of running, a lot of screaming, and some special effects that make objects float about in the air. Overall, we were not that impressed by this short and have seen exactly what happens here in other feature length films for decades.

Finally, "V/H/S" ends where it began with the idiots of "Tape 56" in a very underwhelming finale. This anthology is overall mediocre at best. The concept for a found footage anthology is great, but we really needed more than the expected and tired horror cliches to make this entire film interesting. Despite one or two decent shorts, the rest were not up to snuff, and we found ourselves mostly bored with this film as a whole.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were being scared by: "The Shining"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Dead Silence"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Saw"

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