Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: V/H/S (2012)

“I like you.”

Directors: Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West and Adam Wingard
Starring: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes and Adam Wingard
Writers: Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Nicholas Tecosky, Chad Villella and Ti West

I try really hard not to get over excited for a movie as the hype can sometimes be greater than the product. With V/H/S I couldn’t help myself as it was a horror anthology and it was found footage. So I bit into the hype and low and behold, came out of the movie slightly underwhelmed. But seeming that different directors and writers took on different portions it’s not really fair to judge all of them the same, so I’m going to break down each section as there were some things that did live up to my expectations.

Tape 56/Main Story Arc: Four men break into a house having been paid to find a VHS tape. Thinking they are going to make easy money, instead they find countless VHS tapes and realise they need to go through each one. Each tape watched leads to one of the stories. As a connecting story it’s a good idea however it falls short thanks to two problems in my eyes.

First off the four characters are the worst type of human beings, who I couldn’t wait to get their comeuppance. Before their break in to the house, we see them attacking innocent people, destroying property and trying to trick a girl into having sex on camera. The other problem is except for the beginning there is really nothing to the story and the events just seem rushed.

Amateur Night: When I started watching this story I honestly wanted to be like Kanye and toast all the assholes. Three guys rent a motel room and go out to party. One of the men Clint is wearing glasses with a hidden webcam to record the debauchery of the night. They pick up two women and find out that sometimes predators can be preyed upon.

I will admit as the story progresses Clint does show signs of being less of an asshole as the rest, but I cared for Lily (Hannah Fierman) more. In just a small amount of time, Lily comes across as sympathetic, and manages to keep this sympathy going even when certain weird things happen later in the story. It’s impressive and Hannah Fierman has to be the best actor out of the entire movie, without her this segment would have meant next to nothing.

Second Honeymoon: Two people go on a second honeymoon, terrible things happen. This particular story has even less to it than the main arc of the movie, but at the same time it’s extremely focused and more successful. I like the fact that it comes, does its story quickly and moves on. I think that this story actually shows the potential of a horror anthology done with found footage. Segments can just be these slices of creepy footage.

However there are problems. It’s a problem I’ve said several times in this review already. The male character in this movie starts off quite the asshole and yet again I just didn’t care. So while I could appreciate how tight this segment was I just didn’t care. You know I’m getting kind of tired of saying asshole but there you have it.

Tuesday the 17th: Four friends go into the woods, however things aren’t all what they seem and thanks to a killer on the loose, these kids will never forget their adventure. This is the first segment that doesn’t have some high calibre assholes in it. But that’s made up by having the main character being a complete and utter evil bitch. I won’t get into any more details as that will actually spoil the story.

So instead I’ll get into probably one of my most favourite things in this movie. There is a particular effect that uses tracking problems to incredible creepy effect. Yet again can’t get into it, but needless to say this is a filmmaker using the VHS technology to incredible effect. I would love to move on while on a high point but this segment also has the worst acting in the entire movie. Acting in the Room may have been better.

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger: By this point in the movie I hadn’t hated the watching experience but I was feeling extremely disappointed. This was the turn. We get a sympathetic lead in Emily (Helen Roger), a creepy premise with shades of body horror, good acting and a great use of webcam. Goodness this was a great segment that got under the skin.

Not only was I creepy but the tale of Emily is heartbreaking. Whoever was in control of this segment managed to get so much information through to the audience in such a short amount of time. The effects are also creepy with some of the scares being minimalist but effective.

10/31/98: Finally we get to my favourite segment of the entire film. Main reason would have to be the four leads are actually good guys. Yep, finally the guys get some nice representation, which was a welcome reprieve from most men in this film coming off as horrible humans.

Story is simple; four guys on their way to a Halloween party go to the wrong house. There they are faced with an out of control situation. All four leads come seem like normal people and in the beginning are very likeable with their friendly chemistry. Effects are also absolutely brilliant with a great balance of CGI and practical tricks. There is also a unique way of using the camera. One of the guys is dressed as a Nanny Cam so his bear costume has a camera in it.

After finishing this segment I was very happy as this was really what I was hoping for. The film also wraps up the main arc before this is played so the movie ends on a high note.

V/H/S has some great moments, and at the end of the film, great segments, but it is surrounded in hype that this movie can not live up to. There is also an undercurrent of men being despicable. I was relieved that in the end we got some characters to cheer for, whether that was Emily or the four men from 10/31/98. It is worth to check this film out, just dial down expectations. I’m also hoping that a sequel with all new directors is made. There is definite room for a franchise.

1 comment:

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