V/H/S releases today, October 5th in the United States with a very limited release in select theaters.
Yes, there are spoilers ahead.
Done in the tradition of The Blair Witch Project, V/H/S is filmed in the style of “reality home video” / “amateur home video”. Be warned though, it lacks the.. stillness of most other films shot in this way. I can easily see where it could make one sick to their stomach. No, not because of the content, but because of the filming style. The cameras are shaky, unsteady, and contain more “video garbage” than what would actually be found.
What do I mean by “video garbage”? Okay, back in the day of VHS recording if you bumped the camera while recording, then played that footage back, you could actually see skips and pixelization on the recording. I say that this film contains more of that than what would actually be found, and I state that by sheer experience. When I was a kid I made plenty of amateur home videos (no, not porn you sicko), just me and friends goofing around. Occasionally I’d try my talent at making some actual movies with story lines. No matter what I did, I never had the amount of “video garbage” that V/H/S has. Yeah, I get it, the directors added it to make it feel more.. REAL.. more.. AUTHENTIC. Instead it just took away from the movie itself.
As for the storyline, wow. I don’t mean wow in a good way either. It starts off as if we, the viewing audience, is putting a VHS tape into a VCR (what we used to have before dvd and blu-ray players). We see a “home video” of some kids causing chaos, and harassing a couple in a parking garage. Let me warn you of something real fast..
There is some sensitive material in this movie, not exactly rape, but close to it. However, it is only shown in the 1st few moments of the film. The rest of the film is your typical horror/gore. Okay, back to the review..
So the kids finish up their video of harassing this couple and head home. We learn that they make these videos and in turn sell them to make money “because people pay big bucks to see this reality shit!”. We then learn that they are going to rob a house because there is a rare VHS tape inside. A rare VHS tape? Really? Rare?? I mean.. I’ve made several silly movies and they only exist on one tape maybe they are just as rare? Okay, I digress..
So off we are to this house.. They break in and split up. One group goes upstairs, another group goes downstairs. The group upstairs finds a room with a dead guy in a chair along with several televisions, VCRs, and loads of VHS tapes. Ah crap. How do we tell which one is the rare one? Damnit! I guess one guy will have to stay behind in the creepy room with the dead guy in it while the others go tell the second group what they found. The guy left behind is gonna watch some videos now.
That transitions into the actual movie.
What we discover is that V/H/S is actually 5 different films (well.. 6 as we also have the wrap-a-round film).
After each story we flip back to the group that broke into the house. The 2nd group is in the basement and they too run across a stash of VCR tapes. They have no idea which one is the rare one so they decide to take them all.
Then we go back upstairs and find that the guy left alone is missing.. oh noes!
I guess we’ll leave another guy behind and let him watch a 2nd video tape so we can progress this film. It goes like this for a total of 5 different videos.
I’m not going to go into explaining what each story is, a couple were decent enough, but the amount of “video garbage” made them very difficult to watch. Again, not because it made me sick to my stomach (though to some I can see how it could) but because it was hard to concentrate on what was actually happening.
I found myself fast forwading through some of what I was watching as a result.
I’ll be honest, I would not mind watching the tales if it were remade and lost the hoaky amateur home video aspect. I really think that by shooting this film in that “style” really took away from what could have been really good.
I can’t say that I’d recommend this one, it was just a bit painful to sit though.
HOWEVER, should you decide you have to have it.. Ironically you can pick up V/H/S on Blu-Ray here: