Being that I haven’t seen a solid anthology horror film since TRICK R TREAT (2007), I was jonesing for V/H/S which has been getting lots of rave reviews thus far. So I finally snagged a copy of it and here’s how it went down. NOTE: Yes the shaky cam vibe of the movie gave me a f*cking headache, it made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT look like it was shot on a tripod. END OF NOTE.
The easiest way to go about it is to axe this one into pieces and inspect the hunks of flesh, so here it goes.
The wrap-around story was called TAPE 56 and was directed by Adam Wingard who helmed the strong Indie chiller A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE. And alas I didn’t care for it. The characters were a bunch of cum stains on two legs, you know, CRAZY GUYS, who like to break windows for fun and spray paint shit on walls… CRAZY… urg! I didn’t give two shits about them or their fate (unless wanting them to die ASAP counts) and the stupid moves they kept on doing didn’t help matters. They’re looking for a tape. They don’t know what it looks like and don’t know what’s on it. So how about getting all the tapes, putting them in a box and getting the hell out of dodge ASAP? Figure it out at home instead of dicking around in the dark with flashlights in a house you just broke into. Worst thieves ever! And I don’t know about you, but if I break in a house and watch a tape about some real life ghouls killing peeps, I am out there, hitting the nearest McDonalds for a Happy Meal. F*ck that noise! Lastly, the pay off of the wrap around story evoked two emotions out of me: Uh? And Meh! So yeah, major let down!
Thankfully the ride got better with David Bruckner's (Who did the tight THE SIGNAL) AMATEUR NIGHT which was about a group of horny dudes who went out on the town, did blow, drank up, all in the name of scoring some poon. Of course they got more than they bargained for. Although I saw where this one was going pretty fast, getting there was still enjoyable. The actors were competent, tension was in the house and when the gore flew it did in a bold fashion. Sure, the male characters were douches, but hey I used to be that douche 6 years ago or so, so I couldn’t hate them for it. I also dug some of the clever use of POV shots, like that geek wearing glasses with a camera in it. Prett fly results!
After that it was Ti West’s (THE ROOST) turn to do the doo with SECOND HONEYMOON, a story about some pussy whipped dude and his frigid broad on a road trip, trying to renew that passion; then the hammer drops. This one had a potent build up, even though I couldn’t stand to see yet another portrayal of a spineless "modern" man. Ah the society we live in. If my girl robs me of 100$ I won’t say “Ah you’re treating yourself” and let it go. I’ll say “give me my money back NOW!’. With that aside, the foreboding and creepy bits were unnerving and I was waiting for a whoopass cap-off. I didn’t get it. It ended so abruptly and left me with so many questions, that what had transpired didn’t mean Dick or Tracy to me anymore. It’s like getting a head job and the chick stops seconds right before you cum, then you get that ruined orgasm and you politely ask her to get the f*ck out of your house. So another semi let down for me, with that I can’t ignore what was pulled off.
I had more fun with Glenn McQuaid (I SELL THE DEAD) TUESDAY THE 17TH, which started off like a routine slasher (kids go in the woods to get stoned and laid) and then went off into a different and more novel direction, throwing the red wet goods around via harsh kills and having lots of fun with its dense stereotypical characters and wacky scenarios. I can’t tell ya exactly what was FULLY going here (I do have my theories) but it didn’t matter much, tits, blood, groovy visuals effects, laughs, a smooth pace and an ending that didn’t leave me hanging like some dope. Kudos!
Joe Swanberg’s (HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS) kept the love going with THE SICK THING THAT HAPPENED TO EMILY WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER, a story all told via Skype (original but The Collingswood Story did it first) which put out lots of suspense laced and chilling moments. Granted it had its dumb moves to serve the plot (yeah lets go look for ghosts with our eyes closed… sigh), I didn’t buy that the hottie (well played by Helen Rogers, thanks for the tit shot luv) would be dating that constipated looking Mr. Rogers look-alike and the twist at the end, although gross had me scratching my head and my balls. I had to surf the net to figure out what that was all about. Either I’m a moron or the story overused the ambiguous card. But on the whole it got the job done.
Lastly we have 10/31/98, which comes from some dudes that call themselves Radio Silence (never heard of them) and it’s once again about some drunk tools who wanna party, but this time on Halloween. They hit a house shin-dig, it’s empty when they get there, they stick around (okay...) and hell breaks loose. Again, lots of dumb moves to drive the story and the dudes weren't the smartest tools in the shed. With that axed in the head, once the shit hit the shit, the leads became more likeable, the chain of events tossed all kinds of scares and gnarly visual effects my way and it all ended with a bang. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me (Was "it" a ghost, a human, possessed?), but hey at least it was satisfying.
So in short; VHS was uneven for me. On one end, some of the stories were spooky fun and they didn’t shy away from the red grub and bouncy melons, which is always esteemed in my world. The acting was also pretty good even though lots of the characters had back-hand written all over them. On the other end though; this movie had a fetish for pussy whipped dudes or drunk assholes; which doesn’t always make for the most endearing of characters. It also liked to play the ambiguous card a little too much for my liking. Lastly with 7 stories (including the wrap-around) I felt a bit antsy in my seat. There was one story too many in there IMO, the film was too long for its own good! But hey that’s just me! So you gonna pop this one in your player or rip out the tape and shove it somewhere? Your call!