V/H/S (2012) Review

Directed by: David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Adam Wingard, Radio Silence
Starring: Calvin Reeder, Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard

I love a good horror anthology, and it's been quite a while since I've seen one so I was pretty damn excited when I finally got a chance to check out V/H/S. With an impressive list of directors including Ti West, Adam Wingard and the collective Radio Silence, V/H/S was bound to be impressive. At least I hoped so.

V/H/S is broken up into 6 segments, 5 of which make up the bulk of the anthology while the 6th binds them all together. The list of segments is as follows:

'Amateur Night' - David Brucker
'Second Honeymoon' - Ti West
'Tuesday the 17th' - Glenn McQuaid
'The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger' - Joe Swanberg
'10/31/98' - Radio Silence

All of these 5 segments feature within the 6th (Adam Wingard's 'Tape 56') as footage compiled on separate VHS tapes. Tape 56 shows a group of misfits who have been hired by an undisclosed third party, to break into a home and steal a certain VHS tape. When they arrive however they find more than they expected. A dead body, a bank of television sets and dozens of VHS tapes which they will need to sort through in order to find what they are looking for.

I won't go into each individual segment very deeply however I will say that they are quite varied in content (which is great) and as with every anthology some segments are better than others. My personal favorites were 'Amateur Night', 'The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger' and '10/31/98' but as for the other two segments and even 'Tape 56' in which they are all wrapped up, I thought they were much weaker. 
'Tuesday the 17th' (as you may have guessed) pays homage to FRIDAY THE 13TH with four friends who travel to a lake where a number of murders have taken place. 
'Second Honeymoon' follows a couple on a road trip across America as they see the sights until one night they have a mysterious visitor at the door of their hotel room. 
I was particularly disappointed with the latter because Ti West did such a great job with THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL but here he has created something which just basically seems (to me at least) pointless. The same can be said for the former segment, they both have no real meat on their bones. They just kind of happen and didn't leave me with any impression at all.

Fortunately the offerings from Bruckner, Swanberg and Radio Silence made up for the weaker segments, and I found all three of them to be original, surprising and entertaining. Overall there is a nice mix of tension, supernatural stuff, gore and creatures. Basically something for everybody.

I really liked the whole concept of V/H/S and I thought that it was a very interesting idea to put found footage inside a found footage movie. But is that too much found footage? At around 2 hours long V/H/S is made up entirely using this POV style and by the end of it I was honestly over it. If they had halved the film's length it probably would have been alright but 2 hours was just too much for me. Adding in some webcam style in Swanberg's segment almost helped to break this up but not quite. And (although it's probably already obvious) if you're not a big fan of this shaky style of filming then you definitely will not like V/H/S. The filming in 'Amateur Night' alone is some of the most wobbly, disorienting, all over the place filming I have ever seen.
I can enjoy a good found footage film if it adds to the atmosphere or the story, but 2 hours was just too much for me. Add to that the fact that the segments are a mixed bag of good and bad, and V/H/S turned out to be an above average anthology, but ultimately still a disappointment.

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