Hallow-vent Calendar - Day 25: V/H/S

Welcome to our Hallow-vent Calendar; a horror-film-filled daily countdown to our favourite spooky celebration, Hallowe'en. For Day 25, David Ames pressed play on V/H/S...

Upon hearing about the film I was planning to watch yesterday, a good friend of mine suggested another in the same vein. He warned that the quality was not near as well done as yesterday’s Holidays but that the film was still otherwise enjoyable. I did a little research and found that my favourite site for horror movies, Bloodydisgusting.com, had a major hand in the creation of movie and that knowledge sealed my choice for today. I pulled up Netflix, searched through my queue, and hit play on 2012’s anthology horror movie V/H/S.

The film is unlike Holidays in that it actually has a thread which connects all of the shorts. The film begins with the home movies of a criminal gang whose favorite past time is sexually assaulting women by pulling up their shirts while someone else films. They sell these tapes and make a decent profit but the leader of the group tells them they could make more. He gets a job to break into a house and steal a single VHS tape. This job pays well so the group decides. When they get to the house, they find the dead body of an old man in front of a bunch of televisions with a VCR attached. The anthology begins as the criminals watch multiple tapes in an attempt to find the one they are searching for.

Much like my review from yesterday, I think this would be better reviewed if we go short by short. The vignettes vary in quality from great to just meh but overall, as low budget as this found footage anthology is, I did truly enjoy it.

Short 1: Amateur Night

The first section is probably my favorite of the collection. Directed by David Bruckner (Southbound, Talk Show), this chapter follows three friends who are out to party and eventually make a sex tape with a woman. What happens is nothing short of amazing, I don’t want to give anything away but suffice it to say that no means no and that the practical effects and performances of this piece are easily the best of the bunch. It is creepy, it is fun and it is bloody as hell, with a wonderful ending which comes out of nowhere.

Short 2: Second Honeymoon

I was extremely excited about this short as it was directed by new and amazing horror talent Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, The Sacrament). Fox and I always watch his movies when we see a new one released as West has a great eye for horror and a way of capturing that wonderful quality seen in 80’s horror movies. This short follows a newlywed couple on a road trip through the west. There they stay in a hotel where, in the middle of one night, a strange girl asks for a ride. She disappears but strange things begin to happen and the ending of this short was something I could have never seen coming. Truly masterful in its deception.


Short 3: Tuesday the 17th

Directed by Glann McQuaid (I Sell the Dead, Tales from Beyond the Pale), this short follows four friends who go to the one’s cabin in the woods to camp. As it turns out, it is where one girl’s friends had been murdered by a slasher-type creature and the girl has brought more friends out to the woods as bait in hopes to capture and kill the entity. I have to say that as much as I enjoyed the basis and the story, the execution of this particular segment left me wanting. The deaths are cheesy and look pretty rough and although the entity looks cool, the vignette just sort of falls flat.

Short 4: The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger

This vignette was lauded as the best of the bunch and honestly, if we are talking about quality I would have to agree. Because of my particular taste, I enjoyed the first one more but this section, directed by Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas), delivers quality story and filmmaking. The short is told entirely through a series of skype-like conversations between a woman and her boyfriend, we are treated to a haunted house story that is at once interesting and scary. The ending is out of left field but in the best possible way and is the perfect ending to a wonderfully executed short.

Short 5: 10/31/98

This was the perfect ending to an overall enjoyable anthology. This section, directed by Radio Silence Productions (Devil’s Due, Southbound), follows four friends who are going out to a party on Halloween. They arrive at the wrong address and begin to experience true paranormal activity which they attribute to the house being a haunted attraction. As they make their way upstairs they realize that a group of men are holding a woman hostage and attempting to perform an exorcism. The group saves the woman and the house begins to respond angrily. Once again, like the others in this group, the ending is unexpected and fun and everything the ending of this film should be. It reminded me quite a bit of elements in As Above, So Below.

Overall this is something should most definitely be watched, unless of course you can’t handle the shaky camera work of found footage. If you can though, I highly recommend watching this film and enjoying what it has to offer. There are some scares and some great practical effects and, in the end, we are given something somewhat original and fully enjoyable.

Images - IMDb

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