Sunday, 26 April 2015


v/h/s is a found footage portmanteau movie, sort of like the twilight zone movie but told via the medium popularised by blair witch project and paranormal activity.

there's a framing story involving a group of obnoxious guys who break into a house to steal a tape, and then there are like five short movies that don't share anything in common other than the way in which they are shot. unless you include the unnecessary nudity and casual objectification of the female characters that seems to thrown into each episode like some kind of box-ticking exercise. i won't bother summarising all the episodes here but they mostly involve unlikable characters doing unlikable things.

as you may have gathered, i wasn't overly impressed with this movie. normally, as per my rules, this would result in me not talking about the movie at all, but it's one of those occasions where i was kind of disappointed because it had so much wasted potential. first of all, three of my favourite people working in horror at the moment worked on v/h/s - ti west, adam wingard and simon barrett. none of them fare particularly well. actually, barrett's episode, 'the sick thing that happened to emily when she was younger', is one of the more interesting ones, it just doesn't quite deliver on the set up. as for west's 'second honeymoon' and wingard's framing story 'tape 56', i just didn't get why either of them would have chosen those stories. they were like entry level horror and contained none of the innovative and original elements i'm used to seeing from these filmmakers. then again, maybe they were restricted by the medium as both tend to make quite visually striking movies.

there are, however, two really great episodes. the first is 'amateur night' directed by david bruckner, which does suffer from the characters being so obnoxious that spending twenty minutes in their company is quite a chore, but at the same time has an amazing creature and cool effects. but my favourite by far is '10/31/98' directing by filmmaking collective, radio silence. in this episode the group of guys aren't actually all that annoying and again it's effects that really sell it. there are hands coming out of walls and rooms changing shape in a way that reminded me of japanese horror games like project zero.

as with all portmanteau films it's a mixed bag, but i would recommend v/h/s for those two episodes as they do some pretty interesting things with visual effects. at the same time, this has nothing on the classics of the found footage subgenre and i hope some of the filmmakers revisited some of those classics before moving onto to the sequel.

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