Film Review- V/H/S
Fair Value of V/H/S: $6.00. This is a new nuance in the found footage horror genre, entertaining vignettes set as abrupt glimpses at a world of horror. Easily worth a rental.
TL, DR: Glitchy anthology of found footage horror vignettes.
Release Date and Context of Release: Are you familiar with glitch music and art? It’s a new style that focuses on taking programming glitches in graphics and audio programs and using them as the basis for art and music. It is a little like found art, but more fascinating, because it also involves a process of doing strange, program-breaking challenges to your photography and music mixing programs. V/H/S is the cinematic evolution of this movement, centering around a series of horror films where the problems of bad amateur video formats are used to lift the menace of the stories. It’s more than just shakey-cam. At the same time, V/H/S is coming at the ebbing end of the great found footage horror craze of the 00s.
Tagline: This collection is killer.
Entire Movie in One Sentence: What happens when you mashup Creepshow and Blair Witch Project.
Corpse Count: Seventeen by talon, knife, train, and stranger means.
T&A Count: One female full frontal, one guy full frontal, one male nude rear, four girls topless.
The Monsters: Variations on classic archetypes for the most part- vampire, hitcher, ghost, slasher. That being said, there’s something fascinated in the way they are depicted. The beings in this film aren’t just aberrant physically- they are errors in the code, bugs in the system. This is conveyed by the various warping effects that occur as they are filmed. The suggestion is that they’re more like fatal fracture in the edges of reality than coherent beings. The best example is the monster in the dullest story, ‘Tuesday the Nineteenth’. A supernatural slasher in the woods is a cliche, but this being is never filmed in any detailed way- instead, it’s a blur, a rent within the footage, that moves around and murders.A brilliant concept applied to an otherwise unimaginative cliche parade.
How Terrible Is It, After All? The episodic format makes it more like a Tales from the Crypt miniseries, allowing you to watch the film to your own attention span. The vignettes vary in quality. Best piece: Justin Martinez’s ’10/31/1998′, the final story, about four fratboys who mistake an actually haunted house for a entertainment haunted house. Worst story: ‘Second Honeymoon’, the second vignette, which is a relatively slow and understated piece. After that, in ranking: #2 would be David Bruckner’s ’Amateurs’, the first vignette’ #3 goes to ‘The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily” (fourth story); and #4 is ‘Tuesday the 17th’, a formulaic slasher story in the center of the film.
Moralizing/ Strafelust: Very little. Significantly, characters suffer and escape regardless of their moral behaviors. The bro reality pornographer gets killed after no date raping the passed out girl, the other fratboys (this is a fratboy-heavy film) actually get killed for doing what seems to be the right thing. This nihilism actually makes this a better horror film, as the deaths happen arbitrarily in relation to ethics, talent, or the intelligent decision making. It’s scary to think that dealing with the supernatural involves situations where you can make all the right decisions and still come up dead.
Best Novelty Death: One other credit to the Jason style slasher: he beats a girl’s face in with her video camera, lens first, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘extreme close-up’. Had there been some product placement, this could have been simultaneously the best and most tasteless camera advertisement ever made.
Lessons on How Not to Die:
- Before schtupping a girl, see if she ever says more than one sentence. If she only repeats a single line, she’s either a monster, or autistic, and either way, you don’t want to deal with that.
- If you escape Crystal Lake, count your blessings and never return. Don’t try to be Rambo.
- Modern cars have windows made of safety glass. It can easily be broken in the event of oncoming trains.
- Teenage girls should be wary of men in internet chatrooms. They might be alien abortionists.
- You can review a dead guy’s collection of strange video tapes just as easily at your home, in the day, as you can when you’re burglarizing his home.