Shocking Saturday: V/H/S

This weeks film is by far one of the best horror films that I have seen in recent years. Although it isn’t the scariest, it is the ideas in the story line that make it great. Being an anthology film – several stories being shown throughout the movie, with the same premise – V/H/S takes influence from such films as Tales From the Crypt (1972), Creepshow (1982) and Trick ‘r Treat (2009).vhs

It thrives off of creepiness, rather than scaring you to death, and the five stories which are shown give you an unnerving feeling, and this feeling is what makes you want to carry on watching, because you can’t tell where the story is going to go.

V/H/S revolves around a group of semi-professional criminals, who in their everyday lives go around smashing up houses and filming themselves lifting up unsuspecting women’s tops, and then selling the videos to mediocre porn companies. They have now been offered a large sum of money from a third-party to carry out a job, all they have to do is break in to a house and steal one VHS tape. However, upon entering the house they realise that there are loads of tapes. So whilst three of the goons search the rest of the house, looting every tape they can find in the process, one of them sits down and decides the view some of the videos. Each one filled with a story filmed from the camera man’s point-of-view, and each one more horrific than the last.

It puts a bit of a twist on the typical hand-held camera film though, there are five stories in total (unless you count the criminals stealing the tapes), two are filmed on hand-held cameras, and the others are from a glasses-cam, a web-cam and a camera inserted into the hood of a Halloween costume, which in some respects makes the film more realistic as it is actually from the eyes of the victims. Without giving too much away, the videos consist of the supernatural, the paranormal and serial killers. Don’t let the fact that you may have seen films with those things in before put you off, I guarantee this film is different.

Each video was directed by different people, all known in the horror genre: Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die), David Bruckner (The Signal), Ti West (The Inkeepers), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell The Dead), Joe Swanberg (Silver Bullets) and the film-maker quartet Radio Silence. Having different directors gives the film a slight edge, as each video will be portrayed in a different way. The stories don’t become repetitive and boring because they are about 15-20 minutes each and get straight the point. This is great for the majority of the film, but some of the videos seem like they could have been explained better, and some seemed to be over too quickly, with not much of a storyline emerging. It would have been better to lengthen the more interesting stories and maybe cut out the ones that weren’t really going anywhere.

That little criticism doesn’t take away the adrenaline-ride that was V/H/S though, maybe I just have a hankering for hand-held camera films and like to see where the new ones take the genre. But throughout the entire film I could not stop watching, it just kept me hooked, and I think that a lot of horror fans will be impressed with it. Not only for the story, but for the effects, the blood and guts factor is huge, without going over the top into B-Movie standards, and is ridiculously realistic. A high point has to be after the stomach of a victim is opened, their intestines are reeled out of their body, by a killer named ‘The Glitch’, which I thought was a great name. When you see the film you will understand why.

You can only truly witness the greatness of this film by viewing it for yourself.

Just to entice you even more, here are the titles of each video tape shown in the film:

Tape 56/Frame Narrative

Amateur Night

Second Honeymoon

Tuesday the 17th

The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger

10/31/98

Tag Line: This Collection Is Killer.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

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