Posted by Rande Iaboni on September 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm
V/H/S is a horror film I have been waiting to see for an extremely long time. From the moment I heard about it I was intrigued because of its uniqueness. It tells the story of a group of misfits hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, but they discover more found footage than they bargained for. It got my attention because of this twist, it is a found footage film ABOUT found footage films. Very ironic and different in my book, and in a year with tons of generic horror movies, I felt this was definitely one to check out.
So now that we’re aware of how I felt BEFORE watching V/H/S, what did I think once I saw it? My feelings are pretty mixed. I definitely dug the timeline of the film, it goes back and forth between the burglars in the house and the different tapes they find. All in all we get 5 storylines in addition to the burglars, so there was definitely enough to keep my attention. The biggest problem was the stories seriously varied in quality. The best way to explain this is to go through each of the stories briefly.
Tape 1- For me this was the scariest of the bunch. It’s about 3 college aged kids who put a hidden camera in one of their eye glasses and hope to film a sexual encounter after a meetup with girls at a bar. Once they bag a couple of girls and head back to their hotel things go terribly wrong. The acting was very realistic which is definitely needed in found footage films. The scares were there and I was tense the entire time watching it. It had solid characters, suspense, and intense gore. After watching this I was stoked to see what was in store for me next!
Tape 2- This one was a bit less scary though and I found myself a little bored at times. It seemed to drag on way longer than the first tape considering there were only 2 people in the whole story. It was about newlyweds on a road trip to the grand canyon who find themselves targeted by a female hitchhiker. To be honest it sounds scary, and there were times where I actually was nervous, but overall it dragged on too long and the ending was a total let down.
Tape 3- This was by far the worst of the bunch. It was a group of college aged kids travelling to a lake house in the woods who are offed one by one by an insane killer. It doesn’t sound too original and that’s because it isn’t. But what really blew it for me was the acting here. The actors were atrocious compared to the rest and for the life of me I cannot understand why they didn’t just cut this one out altogether. Not scary and pointless. It was at this point that I started getting concerned for the film.
Tape 4- This was definitely an improvement on the last 2 stories. It was about a young girl who video chats with her long distance boyfriend about a ghost that is haunting her apartment. The only issue I really had was that it was way too similar to the Paranormal Activity films. Overall it was the shortest of the storylines and it was a nice change to have a steady video chat compared to the shaky found footage stories.
Tape 5- This one was probably the most fun to watch. It was about a group of college kids who head to a Halloween party in an unknown mansion where a bizarre ritual is taking place. It wasn’t as scary as it could’ve been but the acting was solid and it was the most action packed of all 5. It was definitely smart to end with this one.
As far as the burglar storyline, for me it doesn’t even count as a real plot because the only purpose was to get people to watch the tapes, they served no other importance to the actual story and even when they went for scares I was really just hoping for the next tape to be played.
If I had to give this a rating, I would say for die-hard horror fans you should definitely check it out. While found footage horror films are nothing original anymore, this one at least tried something different with it so you have to give it credit. Not to mention, with 5 storylines plus the burglar plot, an audience member is bound to enjoy at least 1 of them I would think. But to be honest, seeing this in a theater wouldn’t be as effective. It is much better alone in the dark (like I watched it), and there is something frighteningly ironic about watching it on a small screen while the burglars are doing the very same thing.
*V/H/S hits theaters on October 5th but you can see it now On Demand or iTunes (which is definitely the way to watch it)*