HIT EJECT

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 in All Reviews, Giant Turds, The Unfinishables | 10 comments

V/H/S (2012)

www.tavernofterror.comAt long last the much hyped and much promoted new horror anthology V/H/S is available for instant watch and On Demand and such, months before its theatrical release. This Labor Day weekend the wife and I sat down to check it out, and I felt it was high time I review another new movie.

I was excited for this feature even though I knew very little about it. I try to avoid spoilers at all cost so I didn’t even watch the trailer. All I knew was that the framing device storyline was about a group of thugs who are paid to break into a house and steal a valuable VHS tape. In doing so, they have to scan a few tapes and each tape is a short horror film in and of itself, each made by a different director, some of which are steadily becoming genre heavyweights, such as Ti West (House of the Devil). This alone was enough to spark my interest as I dig new approaches in horror and absolutely love anthologies. I am also fully on board with the current VHS-tape nostalgia, which I assumed this movie would pander to the fans of. But it actually doesn’t, as the movie’s segments are shot with more modern digital media, taking away the potential for VHS sentimentality.

I was unaware that the entire movie is shot-on-video and is rather gimmicky with handheld camera work. I personally loathe this Blair Witch found-footage horseshit. When is this gonna go away? I find in movies like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield that it is just ridiculous that any of the characters would continue filming when so much crazy shit is going on. I also don’t like the nauseating virtual rollercoaster effect that these movies have as we watch the victims run down stairs in the dark as the camera spins out of control.

Strike one, V/H/S.

The movie begins with said framing device of a bunch of thugs shooting voyeuristic footage of committing petty crimes and assaults. The camera spins all over the place and the footage is interspliced with static and blips. Throughout the movie each director makes us suffer through this nonsense: never in your life will you see anyone’s home movies that are as big of a filming mess as what’s presented here.

Anyway the dickbags take a gig robbing a house in search of some VHS tape. When they break in they discover an old man dead in his seat in front of a bunch of static filled TV sets. They go on their search and start watching some of the tapes.

www.tavernofterror.comThe first tape (and first segment) is of a bunch of college assholes filming a night of barhopping in the hopes of bringing drunk girls back to their hotel and film banging them. A repeat theme in all these shorts is that making bad porn is the main reason anyone owns a home recorder. These assholes are total fucking assholes, unlikable and indistinguishable. Every other word out of their mouths is “fuck” or “dude.” They pick up a couple of fast women, including one with crazy eyes that proves to be some sort of monster, or demon, or succubus, or vampire, or… something. There is virtually no story here and the characters are so empty that it is hard to feel fear for them. It ends abruptly, although violently, and leaves you unsatisfied.

We return to the framing device/main story arc and watch the burglars bumble through the house. Nothing happens. The next tape goes in.

www.tavernofterror.comThe second story shows a couple on their vacation. The footage is less wobbly but the couple films every boring moment in their hotel room for some reason. They have two spooky encounters: one with a fortune telling machine that gives a foreshadowing message, and another with a young woman who intrudes upon their privacy. The final shocks are too voyeuristic for me. If you get off on POV-style knife wielding then go for it. I find it sleazy. This segment has the worst pacing and worst story of them all.

We return to the framing device/main story arc and watch the burglars bumble through the house. One of them thinks he sees a man in the basement. We see it too. Nothing ever comes of it. The next tape goes in.

The next story is about a bunch of teens going into the woods where a bunch of other teens were killed by a madman. No, really. One of the girls is trying to get him on camera but his face always glitches out, because as our girl points out he is “Not just insane. He’s evil. And these waters ran red with their blood.” Hackneyed and pointless, this one offers the most gore but little else.

We return to the framing device/main story arc and watch the burglars bumble through the house. Nothing happens. The next tape goes in.

The next segment is shown as video-phone online conferences between a woman and her boyfriend in their long-distance relationship. She is worried that her apartment is haunted by ghost children. She asks her boyfriend to stay on the phone with her each night as she investigates. This segment at least had dialogue, which is more than I can say for the other “stories” which rely heavily on reality show idiocy, leading the empty characters to shout “What the fuck?!?!” ad nauseum.

This story has potential, but it utilizes cheap jolt scares in the dark just like all those Paranormal Activity movies. Scene after scene of dark and silence and then a LOUD NOISE happens or we get a quick flash of a face and audiences howl that it’s brilliant horror cinema.

Imbeciles.

Anyway, the end of the segment, while menacing, is incomprehensible gibberish.

You’re really striking out here, V/H/S.

Note: we almost turned this movie off. I really would classify this as unfinishable, but for the sake of doing this review, which I had planned to do all along, I decided to stick with this turd when normally I would have walked away from it.

www.tavernofterror.comAnyway, guess what? We return to the framing device/main story arc and watch the burglars bumble through the house. But something happens this time.

***SPOILER***

The old man they thought was dead gets up and kills all the burglars by beheading them and then goes all ghoulish. Did they find the tape? Who knows. What’s with the old man? Who knows. Nothing is explained. The wraparound final explanation you hope for is never remotely offered. The arc tale has no resolution and no sense to it.

The next tape goes in, V/H/S wearing thinner and thinner as it approaches the two hour mark.

The last found footage is of a bunch of guys going to a Halloween party. They enter the wrong house and they at first believe it is a haunted house attraction. It isn’t. They stumble upon the most stereotypical exorcism scene possible, but they misinterpret what’s going on even though anyone who has seen at least one horror movie could wise them up. There are some cliché horror effects right out of a video game and a sudden fatal finale.

At long last this massive shit-storm of enraging disappointments ends.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Blurry, repetitive, poorly written and clumsily slapped together, this is absolutely one of the worst horror films I have ever seen, and I own both Sledgehammer and Things. There is zero artistic merit to it. It feels lazy in execution, and seems to be insulting the viewer. It’s as if the film assumes that anyone watching it must be an iPhone-addicted, youtube generation zombie fuckbrain with no attention span who can’t focus on anything that doesn’t play out like reality television and internet porn. This direction results in said unlikable and poorly acted characters just piddle-pooting around for the majority of the segments before they finally get ripped apart. They’re impossible to relate to or give a crap about – if anything, you just wait around to watch them die.

That this rancid ball of flaming sewage swept Sundance just goes to show that those pretentious, dickless hippies don’t have a fucking clue what a good movie is – let alone what it takes to make a quality horror film.

I have noticed after watching it that our hatred for this film has been shared by much of the horror community. Multiple websites and blogs in the horrosphere have slammed it, and rightly so. It seems that this is a horror movie more praised by non-horror fans, so that should tell you something.

I would almost rather watch Rob Zombie’s Halloween films, and those movies take something I love and rape it in the eye-socket.

I truly and vehemently hated this movie. It showcases everything I despise in the genre’s current downward spiral. That anyone could call this the scariest movie of the year, as many have, just goes to show you just how deep into the dog-doo these lame trends have taken us.

  • RATING: Less than zero. I want my $9.99 and 115 minutes back.
  • CHICK OF THE LITTER: The bug-eyed succubus played by Hannah Fierman, for being the one creepy thing in the whole movie.

BARTENDER’S NOTES:

I can’t really recommend any particular booze to accompany a movie this despicable. I have never had a drink as terrible as this movie. But you will need something strong afterwards to wash this cinematic diarrhea out of your mind.

Might I suggest moonshine? The more backwoods the better. My advice would be to try drinking it before you hit play. Maybe you’ll get lucky and go blind before the movie starts.

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10 Comments

  1. After reading this, I’m glad that I waited for a few reviews to show up from trusted sources before rushing out to pick this film up. I was really hoping V/H/S was going to be another quiet gem like, ‘Chillerama,’ well, except without the humorous aspect. I, too, purposely stayed away from trailers and did not want to know very much going in. All I knew was that there would be a main plot, interspersed with short films by several different directors to build up the story. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, now that I think about it: I am not currently in the position to run out and pick it up at the moment, so I gave in and read a few reviews. Seems like my back surgery saved me $9.99 and another $20 for the liquor it sounds like I would have needed to get though it!!

  2. Awwww bummer… i was really looking forward to seeing this… guess i’ll pass now… We need a solid resurgence of anthology horror sir… Trick R’ Treat was great but One Anthology horror film every 10 years doesn’t cut it…. maybe i should finally write the one i have in mind hahaha Creepshow All set around Christmas Time!!!

    • Matthew – Have you seen ‘Chillerama’ or ‘The Signal’ yet? Both of those are great anthology horror flicks, in my opinion. ‘Chillerama’ has a blend of that horror/comedy/midnight movie feel that is a lot of fun if you like that genre. ‘The Signal’ is a single story, but spread out and told by three different directors. It is a lot more of a straight-forward kind of horror. Both are well worth watching and, in my opinion if you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet – you should.

  3. I’m so glad you reviewed this…and saved me ten bucks. I almost watched every night this week. Better you, than me, of course:)

  4. PS
    Have you and wifey watched The Pact?

  5. I think that the found footage format is still a viable one and when done well, it’s pretty awesome (see Trollhunter and The Tunnel). However, I agree, this one half-assed, nonsensical, mess. A total waste of $10 indeed.

    • I have not heard of ‘The Tunnel,’ but I enjoyed ‘Troll Hunter’ very, very much! I don’t know if it still is, but it was streaming on Netflix a few moths ago and I have turned several people onto it. I would say that it is the BEST example of the “found footage” genre that I have seen so far.

  6. * Glad to provide the horrorsphere with honest (and sometimes brutal) feedback. I’m not a fan of found footage, but if done right I suppose it could have merit.

    * Haven’t heard of The Pact. Any good?

    * I love anthologies, and love Christmas horror films. Go for it, dude!

  7. I was kind of interested in this one. No way in hell I’ll waste my time though after reading this review. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Glad to help! This is easily the biggest disappointment of the year!

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