V/H/S (2012) w/ a guest review from Matt Deitchley
A group of punk twenty-something hipsters are hired by a friend-of-a-friend to steal a VHS tape from a home belonging to an old man. They bring along their camcorder to film their shenanigans, as per usual (despite this being present day). Upon entering the home they find all of the rooms empty except for one. It has a dead guy in it, surrounded by a bunch of TVs with a VHS tape player. They proceed to take a look and see what are on these tapes, so they know what there are stealing. Each tape they view is more gruesome than the last. Here’s what they saw:
Tape 1: A group of three d-bags decide to film each other having sex with whatever girl they can bring back to their hotel room after a night out drinking, with a camera built into a pair of glasses. The three boys manage to bring back two girls, one of whom passes out before they can make their little video. So that leaves three dudes and one odd quirky girl who doesn’t seem quite right, but is attracted to the guy with the camera glasses.
The alpha of the group sets about doing his thing, but she wants to be with glasses guy. The third guy tries to get in on the action too be she ends up biting his hand. They open the bathroom door to find the girl ripping alpha guy apart, not sexually, but literally. She then kills the other guy as glasses escapes down the hall, but the oaf falls down the stairs and breaks his wrists. She gives chase and you get a good view of how this once cute girl is now a grotesque monster. She still claims to like the boy and tries to give him a BJ. Maybe it is the fact that his bone is sticking out of his hand, or maybe that this girl just ate his friends, but he can’t get it up. She is upset by this and starts to cry, so glasses takes-off again. As he goes for help he is lifted into the air, as we get a glimpse of the girl flying away with him as his glasses fall back down to earth.
Tape 2: A young couple is recording their road trip through the Southwest. Most of it is your basic tourist type stuff. One night in their hotel they hear a knock at the door: someone is asking for some help, but they ignore them and go to sleep. The camera comes on as we see the guy sleeping, then we see the girl sleeping too. Who could be filming this if it isn’t them? Whoever has the camera makes threatening gestures with a knife before stealing their money and sticking their toothbrushes in the toilet. They are none the wiser.
Some more touristy stuff, then back to another hotel room as the guy is being filmed again as he sleeps. This time it isn’t just to rob them, as someone sticks a knife in his throat. The next shot is of his girlfriend and another girl making out in the bathroom, both covered in his blood, it just stops there.
Tape 3: A girl takes her three friends out to a secluded lake, all the while dropping hints that they will be killed out there. As they sit around the water the girl tells the story of when she came out here a few years ago, and all her friends were killed by some psycho, and no one believed her. She explains that they are just bait for him, and she plans on catching the killer. Sure enough he shows up and kills them off one by one until only the girl is left, but she has rigged the woods like Arnold in the end of Predator. The killer falls into her traps, but isn’t slowed by any of them, any of which would kill a normal person. The last thing we see if the guy pulling out the girl’s intestines.
Tape 4: A girl is web chatting with her boyfriend, and after showing him her boobs, takes him on a tour of her new apartment. She shows him all of the spots where weird things have been happening, like the sound of footsteps. The next night they are chatting and she hears a knock at the door, no one is there when she opens it, and leaves it open just to be sure. It’s then that a creepy looking kid runs into the apartment, and then shuts the door behind it. The guy plays it off like it was the wind, but he scared for his girlfriend. She calls the next night and hears the same noise, and instead of turning on a light like a normal human, she uses the flash from her camera, which reveals a kid sitting in front of the TV, who starts to chase her. She is officially freaked at this point.
The next day while talking, she tells him that her arm has been hurting then proceeds to show him the huge hole she has cut into herself where she is poking around looking for what’s causing the discomfort. Maybe it’s the silver dollar sized hole you cut yourself? Another night, but this time there are like 5 ghost kids in the room. She faints, and then her boyfriend, who is supposed to be a thousand miles away comes into the room and cuts a demon baby out of her, then breaks her arm and tells her doctors she was hit by a car. She thinks she is crazy, but her boyfriend tells her it will be ok and hangs up. Seconds later he is chatting with another topless girlfriend, where we are lead to believe that this whole thing will happen to her as well. WTF?
Back to the movie itself: The group’s leader returns to the room with the tapes and TV, after searching the rest of the house, to find everyone missing, even the dead guy. He finds one of his friends minus a head in the hall, and also sees the dead guy, who is no longer dead as we are treated to one final tape as the guy is ripped to shreds.
Tape 5: A group of frat guys are headed off to a Halloween party in a part of town they don’t know. They get to the house but find it empty, and figure that someone is just playing a prank on them. They hear some voices coming from the attic, and when they go to investigate, find a bunch of cultists about to sacrifice a girl. They run for the hills, but they realize they can’t leave this girl to die and the hands of these crazy mofos, so they go back. They fight off the cultists who are soon pulled into the rafters by an unseen force as the guys grab the girl and go. The house is now 100% haunted with arms coming out of the walls, birds flying around inside, and stuff floating and crashing.
They get the girl to their car and speed off in the nick of time. She isn’t doing well and they need to get her to a hospital ASAP. That is when the car stalls and the lights go out. When they come back one, the girl is gone, but soon appears outside of the car looking all sorts of spooky. The doors won’t open, but that is the least of their problems… as they are on a train track with one barreling down on them!
Alex’s Thoughts: I like horror movie anthologies; getting different directors and stories all in the same movie keeps my attention and the movie fresh. This was a good concept, and was pulled off decently, though it could have been better with some sort of explanation about the old guy and the house. All of the tapes were open-ended without the viewer knowing what happened, so it would have been nice to have at least one story explained to us. The shaky cam footage was way shaky this time around, and if you have vertigo you will lose it within the first 3 minutes for sure. The acting was fine and the effects were decent, but with found-footage movies the effects don’t have to be great, since the film quality is often poor. Here is what I would rate the tapes: Monster Girl (Tape 1) 9/10, Road Trip (Tape 2) 2/10, Haunted Woods (Tape 3) 6/10, Scary Skype (Tape 4) 6/10 & Wrong House (Tape 5) 8/10. Although reviews are mixed among horror fans, I liked it. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10
Tim’s Thoughts: I am going to be the bad guy here. There has been some discussion about our rating system and how our numbers really represent our feelings. There will probably be a post sometime soon regarding this, but for now assume that anything six and up is a recommend, and this is a solid 6. First things first, this movie is way too long. Some of the vignettes are stronger than others, and I think we all agree on what those are, but the flaws are rampant, and almost damning. I disliked the first part of this movie so much that I would have turned it off if it weren’t for the blog. That also means I would have missed some really good stories. The real appeal for me is the way the mini-movies reminded me of ghost stories I would read as a kid, and like all those generic compilations there is always a clunker, and most of the stories have weak parts where it takes too long to get going, or lingers too long in their endings. Long story short (too late) see this and decide for yourself, it’s good enough to see it in it’s entirety, but not great. Tim Rates This Movie 6/10
Matt’s Thoughts: I’m always conflicted when it comes to horror movies. I really enjoy the good ones, but I get creeped out really easily too and I’m not a big fan of cheap scares. I’m pretty much a 9 year old girl. So, for me to sit through an entire horror movie and get freaked, the movie better be worth the hefty electric bill that follows when I turn every light on in my house for a week afterward, in addition to the awkward conversations with my wife:
Me: “Gah! Where did you come from?! Stop jumping out of the shadows like a Ghoulie!”
My Wife: “Uh, I just asked if you wanted fish for dinner. … Anyway, did you have any laundry to do?”
Me: “GAH! Stop it!”
I’d say this movie qualifies as worth my terrified-ness. There are some definite flaws with V/H/S, namely the storyline that attempts to connect all the random tape viewings is weak. This would have worked better if the teens found these videos randomly, or even if they kept the existing storyline of teens breaking into a house for a tape, but didn’t add a killer dead guy into the mix. It often makes very little sense and becomes distracting from the others stories, most of which are engaging and fun. This movie is also much too long, at 2 hours. The Road Trip (Tape 2) and The Killer in the Woods (Tape 3) are both the weakest and could be cut altogether. But Monster Girl (Tape 1) is a slow build with a cool/creepy climax and good effects. Scary Skype (Tape 4) is a nice Paranormal Activity-esque short, that’s predictible but geniunely creepy. And Wrong [Haunted] House (Tape 5) appears to be unoriginal and boring, until the last five minutes when some killer effects will have you sitting up in your chair and saying, “Oh shit! They is effing screwed!” Overall this is a fun movie with surprisingly impressive effects for low budget horror. It’s good enough to share with friends so you can take credit for “finding it” when they like it. Plus, if one of the stories is dragging for you, just skip ahead to the next. Matt Rates This Movie 8/10
View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue