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2012 | 115 min | R | 1.85:1



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User reviews

1 user review

Movie appeal

Psychological thriller10%


Theatrical release date

 05 October, 2012
 18 January, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew Screenshots User reviews News Forum



Screenshots from V/H/S Blu-ray

V/H/S Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 6, 2012

To its credit, “V/H/S” attempts to attack the found footage genre from a slightly different angle, taking the herky jerky antics to the realm of the anthology movie, allowing six directors to have their way with all manner of POV horror. Unfortunately, with this aesthetic comes expected elements of blurred cinematography and amateur acting, and while the irritations are broken down into blocks of 20-minute-long stories, “V/H/S” remains protracted and dramatically undernourished. While two of the tales retain a satisfying bite, the experiment as a whole is tiring and often ridiculous, spending most of its energy supporting a concept that wears out its welcome after ten minutes of exposure.

In “Tape 56” (directed by Adam Wingard), a team of dim-witted thieves and amateur pornographers break into a house, endeavoring to retrieve a special VHS tape that could net them a handsome reward. Expecting an easy job, the gang instead discovers a dead man and a mess of videotapes, with each member of the group taking a moment to watch the unlabeled entertainment offerings. “Amateur Night” (directed by David Bruckner) follows a gang of horny young men hoping to tape their evening of sexual encounters on a pair of special spy glasses, only to encounter a strange, silent woman who makes for a unique star in their date rape opus. “Second Honeymoon” (directed by Ti West) tracks the exploits of a married couple traveling along the American Southwest, quickly finding themselves stalked by a mysterious figure who gains access to their hotel rooms and camera equipment. “Tuesday the 17th” (directed by Glenn McQuaid) catches a group of four friends as they spend some time in remote woods, finding their goofball weekend threatened by a vicious ghost who rules the area. “The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” (directed by Joe Swanberg) displays a series of webcam conversations between two lovers, with poor Emily suffering from mysterious growths and wounds while suspecting a paranormal presence in her house. And “10/31/98” (directed by Radio Silence) observes the adventures of a team of costumed men as they embark on a rowdy Halloween celebration, stumbling upon a haunted house with numerous terrifying surprises.

As with any omnibus production, some segments are obviously going to be better than others. With so many creative types assembled to work in SLP mode on “V/H/S,” the results display a few immense divides in creativity and genre appetites, unified only by a fascination with found footage craftsmanship and scary events happening to hapless victims.

Logic isn’t a friend to “V/H/S” nor should it be. Never mind the dark house with the dead man. Ignore his strange collection of videotapes, ranging from vacation videos to Skype-style interactions. Disregard the thieves and their inability to process clear and present danger. This picture aims to thrill, targeting gorehounds with copious amounts of bloodshed and an emphasis on hideous wounds, while offering plenty of nudity to cool off the viewing experience for brief pockets of time. “V/H/S” is raw and digitally unstable, with all the directors abusing fabricated glitches to hide their visual effects and to help create a chaotic atmosphere that naturally emerges from two hours of spastic hand-held camera activity. Those who suffer from motion sickness should probably seek their autumnal scares elsewhere, with every single segment maintaining violent, nonsensical camera control, exhaustively invested in disorienting the viewer to best develop chills of the inventive and cheap variety. Despite its intention to juice the terror, the camera quake gets old in a hurry.

Perhaps most disappointing is Ti West’s “Second Honeymoon,” a particular slow-burn chapter that struggles to join the raucous “V/H/S” party, displaying restraint and a glacial pace, keeping in line with its tourism video template. West is a smart, gifted filmmaker, yet his work here lacks urgency, attempting to shape a creepy stalker vibe in the midst of a droopy relationship drama. The segment ends with a gush of gore, but the conclusion seems tacked on to an otherwise perfectly legitimate (and correspondingly dull) home movie. On the other end of the genre spectrum, Glenn McQuaid’s “Tuesday the 17th” is overly excited without securing a reason to get amped up for woodsy murders of obnoxious characters. Aiming for parody with a pixelated menace, the story provides vivid kills but nothing beyond the violence.

“V/H/S” concludes with two solid segments, finding “Sick Thing” successfully milking a laptop ghostbusting gimmick I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in the future. It’s tense and agreeably weird, also blessed with some gushy examples of impromptu surgery to aid a delightful gross-out factor. The final chapter, Radio Silence’s “10/31/98” manages to overcome its painfully strident lead characters to embrace a nightmarish haunted house scenario, supplying the best use of POV in the entire film.

Thankfully, “V/H/S” ends with a bang, though more of sustained tone of excitement would’ve been preferred. It’s uneven and lacks inspiration, yet the premise is open to invite further inspection in sequels, preferably ones with stable camerawork, seasoned actors, and perhaps one less tale of doom to sit through.

Starring: Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard
Directors: Ti West, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg

» See full cast & crew

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