Friday, October 5, 2012

V/H/S (2012)

V/H/S (USA, 2012) - Color, Director(s): Adam Wingard, Ti West, Joe Swanberg, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, and Radio Silence.
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 116 min.

Z-rating: 3 out of 5 stars for having a great concept but producing mediocre results

Cheese Factor: 2 out of 5 stars for using old VHS defects to cover up the use of CG effects

     Here is an example where too much hype can work against a movie. V/H/S was probably the most hyped and highly anticipated film of the year for horror movie fans around the globe. Being touted as "the scariest movie of the year" in all the advertisements, this movie had a lot to live up to. While the concept was embraced by an older generation of horror movie fans that grew up with the video format, that alone was not enough to save the movie from a story that lacked any real cohesion.

The movie starts off by introducing a group of assholes who go around sharking girls and get hired on to break into some guy's house to steal a VHS tape. When they arrive, they find the guy dead in chair in front of a stack of TVs. They split up and go on a mission to find the right tape that will earn them a big score for the night. They pop a few tapes in to find what they're looking for and that's how each segment is related.

The first segment we see comes from footage taken with a camera cleverly implanted into some guy's glasses. His buddies intend to get him laid and use the camera glasses to film the wild night they have with an unsuspecting lady. After a night out on the town, they check into a motel with two lady friends. Only problem is, one of these ladies is more than she initially seems...

The second segment is about a couple documenting their vacation and the sights that they visit. They end up at a hotel room where a random stranger knocks on the door and asks for ride. Shrugging it off and going to sleep, the camera is turned back on in the middle of the night and the couple are filmed sleeping by an unseen intruder. Watch as a the masked intruder continues to stalk them, leading to a gruesome end.

"There's a large out of focus monster, roaming the countryside"

The third segment takes place in the woods as a group of friends are apparently out on a camping trip. One of the girls starts acting strange, not to mention the camera keep flashing with glimpses of corpses and dead bodies, but they all press on. Eventually, it is revealed that she brought them all here for the camping trip as bait. She had previously been there before with another group of friends that were all killed. This was an attempt to draw the killer out (who is blurred by static you would get on old VHS tapes) so she could catch him and get her revenge. Despite seeming like a demon of some sort, and making noises like a creature, the killer uses a knife to kill his victims even though it appears to have some sort of supernatural power.

The fourth segment looked the most promising as it seemed like a ghost story, similar to Paranormal Activity, where a couple are video chatting and you see kids running by and slamming doors. While this segment had the most potential, in my opinion, it was dragged down by bad acting and strange plot that didn't really mesh well. Probably my least favorite segment, but pays off in the tits department!

The fifth and final segment is one that takes place on Halloween night. A group of guys in costumes are headed to a Halloween party when they arrive at a strange house that seems to be empty. They look around the house to try to find the other party guests by catch quick glimpses of ghost out of the corner of their eyes. When they finally reach the attic, it appears that they've interrupted some cult ceremony. As they try to save the girl and get out of the house, hands come out of the walls to stop them. Apparently, they interrupted an exorcism and the girl they have with them is actually possessed...

This movie would've done well if it was a 2 hour long made-for-TV movie. The fact of the matter is, there are just too many plot holes in the stories and each segment seemed to be short on time. I would've rather seen each segment as an individual episode for a show like Tales from the Crypt or something. For example, the fourth segment has some pretty bad acting (not sure if it was intentional) but I got really frustrated at what was being said in conversation between this couple on webcam. And on that note, who records their webcam chats on VHS anyway? Did they even have webcams back then? The effects budget was probably small but why does a killer with teleportation powers need a knife to kill people? And the hands that come out of the wall on the last segment was something out of a SyFy channel movie.

Not to bash this movie into the ground, I did enjoy the concept and I applaud the effort of the directors for trying to give us a new horror anthology. (Especially one that throwsback to the VHS format!)  Sadly, this one just does NOT compare to works like the super awesome Trick 'r Treat or even classic anthologies like Creepshow

Nudity: There's intermittent nudity throughout the movie. Sometimes just breasts and one full frontal shot of nude female.

Gore: At least there was some decent gore in this movie. People are stabbed in the neck, beheaded, limbs and body parts of hanging. Good stuff!!! Some of it is hard to make out with the grainy filter they put on it to make it look VHS quality.

Awesome: Extra points for the concept!!! When I first heard about this horror anthology centering around the VHS format of yesteryear, I just about had a fangasm. I'm sure that I, along with every other horror geek out there, was just drooling waiting for this baby to come out. Didn't help that it was being called the "scariest movie of the year" and the trailer made it look insane! Alas, when it was finally released to general public, many of us were disappointed that it didn't live up to expectations. And that is EXACTLY where I feel like this movie falters, the expectations. If this movie came outta nowhere in time for Halloween, I think the reception would've been better being spread as a word of mouth sleeper hit.

Due to the hype that was given to this movie, expectations for an extremely scary new horror anthology was through the roof!!! Especially after how awesome Trick 'r Treat was, I think we've all been waiting for the next big horror anthology. Sadly, this one does not live up to the hype despite not being a bad movie. I wanted to love this one, I really did, but unfortunately we're all going to have to look to the future for the next big horror anthology.