Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Adam Wingard, Ti West, David Bruckner & 7 Others
Stars: Calvin Reeder, Hannah Fierman, Joe Sykes
Length: 116 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Found Footage
Plot: Hired to steal a rare VHS tape from a secluded house, a group of petty crooks breaks in and discovers a corpse surrounded by TVs and stacks of tapes. Now they must watch each horrific and bizarre video as they search for the correct one.
Review: Is it possible to be immediately turned off of a horror movie you may ask, the answer is yes! And then you know you have to suffer through 2 more hours of atrocious handheld camerawork that looks like it was filmed by a 5-year old. V/H/S is an utter mess from start to finish.
A touch on the story; there are 6 different shorts with an anthology scenario that ties together in one basic theme. The overall concept has a group of annoying, bratty, loud and dorky teens breaking into an apparent abandon home to track down a VHS tape for an unknown perpetrator. While they’re there, they find an abundance of tapes and start to play them when the film breaks away to an approximately 20-minute short which has some strange occurrences and killings.
I must say V/H/S was extremely hard to get through; the camerawork is some of the worst that I have seen in a found footage movie. You have gobs of shakiness, twirliness, out-of-frame shots, dizzying in-and-out focus, and speedily jumbled shots and moreover it never stops! There may be a total of 10 minutes of still footage, and that is only one of the shorts where they are video conferencing via a computer, all the rest is unbearable.
The sound is as pathetic as with the video. Squeals, scratches, tininess, thumps, hollowness are the norm in V/H/S. The filmmakers tried to keep it authentic by having it sound like the dialog was coming from the crappy mikes that are on low-grade video cameras. They nailed that for the most part, but I did notice in several situations they added a touch of background and mood music which blew the whole concept up in smoke.
The thing that ticks me off the most is that some of the shorts in V/H/S had a great story arc and could have been amazing if filmed conventionally. For example; after a night of young male adults partying, this leads them to bringing a strange-looking chick back to their motel room for some gang sex-capades, but this girl turns out to be a sort-of vampire-like beast with super-human powers. There were some excellent practical’s, a throat-slit scene was one of the best I have ever seen shot. Suffice it to say a few highlights don’t make up for the poor choices made to keep this in the stupid cam shots.
Before the ratings and recommendations, I have to point out that the editor did a mind-boggling array of work, not his fault I assume, as the filmmakers wanted it this way, but the VCR tracking lines, fuzziness and constant blinks like a videotape in the uttermost poorest quality, which was NEVER like that in the day as I grew up on VCR’s, both, Betamax and VHS, was, and is, a total bummer.
On concluding V/H/S; it is one to dismiss as if you never heard about it. You can get it on VOD or Streaming if you so desire for $9.99 with a DVD date coming out later this year. Believe you me, if this is the way horror movies continue to be filmed, I just might be throwing up petitions and sending them out to studios to stop making films in this style. It does not make it feel more real, PERIOD! Get off the Paranormal Activity bandwagon and make HD movies, who the hell wants to watch the poorest of video, balls-low VHS quality in these days of time when we have 1080p High-Def, and 4k right around the corner!
| Reviewer: BillChete
Social Media: Facebook