#278 -- V/H/S (2012)

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, Adam Wingard

Rating: 3 / 5

Okay, so I'd wanted to see this for quite some time. I'd heard some good things about it, and what I knew about it seemed interesting. What I heard was something about a killer who only showed up on tape, or something like that, but that wasn't even right. Maybe I was mistaken. What it is, really, is a found footage anthology. See, I didn't know that. If I had, I probably wouldn't have jumped on it so quickly. But at the same time, I'm kind of glad that I didn't know, because I'm happy that I watched it. I've never been a fan of found footage movies. They really get on my nerves. I've only seen a couple, and that's because the idea of it is so entirely shitty to me. I absolutely hate Blair Witch; Quarantine was okay. And then there's V/H/S. Out  of the three that I have now seen, I'd say this one is the best, even though it makes the least amount of sense. I get that it's an anthology (even though it took me a minute to figure that out), and that means that naturally, there's not just one solid story; there's a bunch of them. That's cool. I like anthologies. The problem is that I like my anthologies to make a little sense, and for the wraparound story (if there is one) to at least mean something.

So let me break this down for you. The movie starts off showing us a group of guys who like to tape crimes that they commit. They mug girls and take their clothes off, and they break into abandoned houses to destroy them. Really immature stuff, but still pretty bad. Apparently one of them knows someone who can give them a lot of money to go to some guy's house and steal a video tape. They jump on the opportunity, and of course, they have to tape their adventures. When they arrive at the house, the old man who lives there is dead, and they have no idea what they're looking for. They do find a shitload of VHS tapes, but they're not sure which one it is that this mysterious guy wants. So they start watching them. This is where the other stories come in. They're all horrible and weird things that people have video taped over the years, and they're  honestly pretty wicked.

One is about some guys with some video recorder glasses who decide to make a porno. They pick up a couple girls at a bar and take them back to a hotel room for some drunken fun. The girls, of course, don't know that they're being recorded. The first girl, who was hot and skanky and really drunk, passed out. So they went on to the second girl, who was really weird. She really liked the camera man, though, because that's pretty much all she said the entire time. "I like you." She was genuinely creepy to begin with, but once she started eating people and turned into some kind of winged demon, shit got intense.

There are stories about ghosts, demons, and just plain 'ol killers. And, of course, the one about the mysterious killer who either only shows up on tape or can't be recorded. I couldn't really tell which way they were trying to go with it. But it looked cool.

Then there's the wraparound story. I get that these guys were looking for some tape. They were told that they'd know which one it was when they saw it, so I get that they had to watch all of them to figure it out. All that makes sense. But I don't get the dead old guy in the chair that was sitting behind them while they were watching them. I don't get why only one of them could watch a tape at a time, or why they each disappeared after they watched something. It never clarified on that part. Then the old guy disappeared from the chair and ended up chasing one of them around the house. I didn't get that either, and that's where it ended. No explanation, no resolution. Just, BAM! He wasn't dead after all (or maybe he was?), and now he wants to kill you. But why? That's where my problem started, and I'm just glad it waited until the very end to disappoint me. There's no point to the entire movie. Sure, everything's cool and creepy, and some parts of it kind of freaked me out. But at the end, there was just no point to any of it. The wraparound story was pointless, since it didn't bring the separate stories together like it should, and it didn't have a proper ending.

"I like you..."

I will say, though, that V/H/S succeeded at what all found footage films set out to do: to make things more believable. I was completely engaged throughout the entire movie, even though I was kind of confused at times. Things definitely did seem natural to me, and some of the segments were pretty scary. The actors did a good job at looking like they weren't acting at all, and the gore, where present, was pretty amazing. Overall, it's a pretty great movie, considering it uses a method that I despise. But in the end, it's severely disappointing in its failure to have an ending. I didn't feel like I wasted my time completely, but it did feel like sort of a waste. They had so much potential, they built up this great story and let it die out in the end. I expected something like The Ring. You know,watch the video and die. But it never offered any explanation to anything, which made the movie fall flat for me.

Even though I was disappointed by it, I would still definitely recommend it. Don't go into it expecting a fully structured story, because you're not going to get it. I would recommend it based only on the separate segments. They were interesting and spooky, sometimes downright scary, and they're definitely worth it. You'll be disappointed when the ending (or lack thereof) completely sneaks up on you, but you'll like the rest. I did, at least.

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