Nothing says the holiday season like a little blood-curdling horror, and with video cameras rolling at holiday parties across the land it seems only fitting to jump into a little found footage scary goodness.
V/H/S is a POV, found-footage horror film from the perspective of America’s top genre filmmakers, including the likes of Adam Wingard, Ti West and others. In V/H/S, a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger and more inexplicable than the last.
When really breaking down this horror anthology it demands to be looked at from two different perspectives all together in order to really understand it and where the filmmakers were coming from. On one end the sub-genre of found footage horror has become so tired and played out that it was, and in many ways still is, on the brink of being more of a gag and after thought than anything else. What had originally made it fun has been beaten to death by the Hollywood machine slapping together a few cheaply manufactured scares and running the concept into the ground. It’s a credit that as a whole piece these directors have effectively shown that some genuinely good work can be done in the genre. However, looking at it much like any other anthology film, some segments really click and generate some thrills and scares, while others fall more than a little flat.
At a bloated 116 minute run time, it is simply too long to maintain any genuinely scary moments. With a solid opening segment and a killer closing one, the material in the middle, while not completely uninspired, was a little overlong and could have done with some trimming or with cutting one segment entirely to get the runtime into the 90 minute range, which is a little more common place for this genre of film as any longer will stretch on even the most devoted horror fans nerves. Of the five sequences that were filmed, the opening sequence was effective in getting the audience in the mood and the final sequence was a genuinely spooky one that may have been able to be stretched to feature length. These solid bookends saved this project from being a bit of a mess, and while it’s not credited on the film you can look online to see which director did your favorite segment.
If you are among the millions that count yourself as a horror fan then V/H/S is more than worth a look as a fun spin on the found footage genre, but much like any anthology film, it won’t all be gold.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray is astonishingly good considering it is supposed to look and feel like a VHS tape. Special features include a feature length cast and crew audio commentary track, an alternate ending, interviews with the cast and crew, along with additional footage and behind the scenes look at the film, photo galleries and theatrical trailers.
Cast: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley
Directed by: Various
Top image: A scene from V/H/S. Courtesy eOne Films.