Thursday, October 11, 2012
V/H/S is a 6-segment anthology film all (presumably) shot on VHS, which is odd because the film is clearly contemporary (e.g. in one story a man and his girlfriend Skype each other). The film is notable for using 6 directors including House of the Devil’s Ti West. In the crappy wraparound story a group of petty thieves, who videotape their crimes, break into a house in an effort to steal a videotape for a “client”. Inside they find a deceased man in front of a bank of snowy television sets. As the thieves look around the house to find their client’s tape one remains behind and starts to watch whatever the deceased man had in his VCR.
As with most anthology films V/H/S provides middling results. Is there such a thing as a good anthology film? Creepshow? Due to nearly non-stop shaky cam, the first sequence, “Amateur Night”, which follows three college guys trying to score with some hot chicks, is unwatchable. I’m not as annoyed by shaky cam as some; however it is vomit-inducing here. It’s too bad because this ends up being one of the better sequences. In the better “10/31/98” four guys on route to a Halloween party go to the wrong house and stumble upon a woman being tortured in the attic. Their attempt to rescue her turns out to be a big mistake. Ti West’s pointless “Second Honeymoon” follows a romantic road trip gone wrong (fortunately it’s only about 10 minutes long). “The Strange Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” starts out with promise as we watch a man Skype with his girlfriend who expresses concern about a strange lump on her arm while fearing that there are others in her apartment. The short segment ends in a baffling, nonsensical climax that just annoyed me. The generic cabin in the woods short, “Tuesday the 17th”, follows a group of friends filming a trip to a lake in the woods on the anniversary of a terrible crime, only to discover the killer is still around is weak and again suffers from too much shaky cam. The terrible wraparound story concludes the disappointing V/H/S in a completely unsatisfactory manner. Taken as a whole, V/H/S is a huge disappointment. I love anthology films and I love “found footage” films, given the talent involved in this project this should have been a slam dunk. Two out of the 6 stories are serviceable but that’s not enough to warrant wasting time on this movie.