‘V/H/S’ Movie Review – A Terrifying Anthology
This year has been a whirlwind movie year for me, but I’m most impressed with how much I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone when it comes to genre. Although horror films are still underrepresented, the fact that I’ve seen three this year is practically a miracle. Of those three, the horror found-footage anthology V/H/S is far and away the best…and scariest. And to think that I would’ve skipped this movie altogether if I’d heard some of the reactions, including reports of people vomiting in the theater. Not to worry, though, I survived and so will you!
Consisting of six horror shorts, V/H/S credits a remarkable six different directors. The stories, writing, and themes aren’t very cohesive, but they are loosely connected to the overall film. This basically means one of the six shorts covers the basis for the other five films. In a nutshell, it’s about a group of guys that try to rob a house only to discover some creepy VHS tapes. What they find on these tapes is nothing short of terrifying.
The first story (directed by Adam Wingard) is the aforementioned main arc. The second story (directed by David Bruckner) follows three men as they go out on the town trying to score with some women. They creepily wear a pair of hidden-camera glasses in an attempt to videotape the entire night. As the night goes on, they discover that one of the women in their group isn’t just odd by nature, she’s truly something to be afraid of. Of course, their glasses pick up the entire thing.
The third and fourth stories (directed by Ti West and Glenn McQuaid respectfully) use found-footage via regular video cameras. In one story, a couple sets out on a sort of second honeymoon, while a group of four friends go on an ill-fated adventure to a cabin in the woods (horror trope #1) in the other video.
The fifth story (directed by Joe Swanberg) is the freshest take on the found-footage genre, where a long-distance couple experiences some weird things via video chat.
The final chapter (directed by Radio Silence) returns to a more traditional handheld camera, and it shows a group of guys as they get ready and attend a Halloween party. When they arrive at the “party,” they realize it’s not anything like they thought it would be…and not in a good way.
I’ve kept pretty tightlipped on the details of the story because V/H/S is a lot freakier when you don’t know what is coming. Since it uses many different forms, the story isn’t constricted to a certain set of rules, making each story different but still terrifying.
There are definitely things to hate about V/H/S including the stupid decisions some of the characters make (this is a problem in a variety of horror films), the sexualized nature (including how women are portrayed), and the gore.
Still, if scary is what you’re going for, there are plenty of different ways to get your adrenaline pumping. There’s a good mix of anticipatory fear, jump-out-at-you terror, and just pure creepiness to appeal to all horror fans.
I don’t pretend to be well versed in the horror genre, but I think V/H/S taught me to take a chance every once in awhile. Although I still see horror movies scarcely, this experience has made me want to keep going. I don’t know if this is the best way to get you to see it personally, but I hope I’ve made it clear that all horror fans will find something to like in this chopped-up story.
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