V/H/S (2012)

Posted: January 3, 2013 in Movies

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a movie review here. As a matter of fact, I decided early in 2012 to discontinue the “movie review” aspect of this blog to concentrate solely on music. That said, as sole owner of this blog, it is completely within my rights to change my mind. There won’t be many movies reviewed in the future, but when I come across the awesome ones, you will hear about them – once again – within these pages.  The first awesome one of the New Year is V/H/S.

Since the success of The Blair Witch Project back in 1999, “found footage” films have been all the rage – especially in the horror genre. The advantage to these kinds of films is that they aren’t very expensive to make, they build tension almost automatically through camera shake and  natural noise, and they are able – through poor lighting and poor focus – to create suspense and atmosphere that normal cinematography just can’t capture with the same results.

From the monsters in Cloverfield to the ghosts in the Paranormal Activity franchise, we get one of these movies almost every month. Some have been amazing, some have been awful, and most have been the same idea done over and over. Finding a fresh take on a played out idea has proven nearly impossible – that is until now.

V/H/S (which we will refer to as simply VHS) is one of the newer entries into the filmed-by-camcorder game, and has raised the bar far beyond expectations. The premise revolves around a group of thieves that have been hired to break in to a house, find a video tape, and return it to the owner for a king’s ransom. What they find is a dead man sitting in a chair in front of several televisions connected to – you guessed it – VCRs. With hundreds of tapes to search through, a curious member of the band of bandits decides to check a few of them out – and thus begins the heart of the film.

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In the style of Tales From The Crypt, the body/house/video tapes story is really only the outer shell of an anthology of horror tales. Directors Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Adam Wingard, and Glenn McQuaid each make their own contributions, each a different tape found in the house from the opening scenes.  Without divulging too many details, there is gratuitous sex, plenty of guts and gore, and twists and turns a plenty. The video is captured through a variety of means – from the standard camcorder to spy glasses, and even implements a more modern technology of two people conversing through Skype.  For the most part, all the “footage” scenes work (albeit some better than others), and each story gets better and better as the film progresses. But be warned – each “tape” that is being viewed is really nothing but a snuff film, and while that kind of ruins a bit of the surprise for you, the grim and realistic nature of them is extremely unsettling.

You’ll discuss with your friends the impact of the film (it stays with you long after viewing), and probably discuss which of the five tapes was the best. Without spoiling it for you, my pick was the last segment (created by Radio Silence, the sole newcomer in the batch of horror movie legends). A Halloween visit to a haunted house goes awry when the house isn’t what it first appears. The twist at the end is as scary, real, and disturbing as it gets – and alone worth checking this film out.

As a top pick of many as Horror Movie of the Year (including fright masters Wes Craven and Rob Zombie), VHS is one of the most imaginative, jolting, riveting, heart-beating-outside-of-your-chest-because-its-so-intense horror films of recent time.

8.5/10
Rated R. 116 Minutes.

Buy at Amazon: Here

IMDB: Link | Wiki: Here

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