Like most horror fans, I was quite taken with Ti West’s The House Of The Devil, so I was naturally excited when I heard he was going to be a part of a found footage film called V/H/S, even though I’m not normally a fan of the shaky camera POV.
V/H/S, which debuted at Sundance and has no less than six directors, is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I could watch it three more times and still not know exactly what it was about. Could be devil worshippers, vampires, zombies or ghosts…
The movie focuses on a group of criminals, and at first feels like some sort of Last House On The Left-style snuff effort because of a parking lot scene where they film themselves grabbing a young woman and lifting her shirt up as they hold her boyfriend back.
Later, the antagonists drive to a house where they have been hired to retrieve some videotapes. Sounds simple enough, but the lights are out and there’s no one inside but a dead guy in a chair sitting in front of several small, static-y televisions and VCRs.
Curiosity and a need to find a certain tape (even the “leader” doesn’t seem to know which one), cause a few of the hoodlums to watch the VHS tapes that are inside the VCRs.
Each of the tapes (all with a different director), range from another group of troublemakers picking up two girls at a bar to a couple’s trip to the Grand Canyon. Another of a separate couple’s Skype conversations is reminiscent of Paranormal Activity.
Two of the tapes, the third (Tuesday the 17th) and the last (10/31/98), reinforce the theory that V/H/S is all horror and no point.
I’d have to agree with Variety‘s Dennis Harvey, who said that its theatrical chances (or just watchability in general) would be increased by better editing.
Besides the excessive nudity, I found the character’s unrealistically unfazed reactions to everything much more disturbing than the multiple stabbings and gory blood-splattered intestine-pulling.
Bottom line, VHS is scary and suspenseful and probably still worth watching at least once if only for Hannah Fierman in the “Amateur Night” segment.
V/H/S is on demand now and will enter limited released in theaters on October 5, 2012. Check out the official synopsis and trailer on Magnet Releasing’s website.