V/H/S (2012)

Reviewing anthologies is tough. In most cases, the parts are different than the sum of there whole. "V/H/S" is a  prime example of certain things going right in certain parts but the whole product falling a bit short. Conceptualized and produced by Bloody-Dusgusting.coms head honcho Brad Miska, the films relentless promotion on that site has left certain genre fans with a bad taste in their mouths. I don't happen to be one of them. Despite what some folks may think, I truly believe Brad and all at BD love the genre. Why the hell would they do what they do, if not for the love? With that out of the way, lets take a look at the film itself...

Much like other anthologies, this begins with a wrap around piece meant to set up the film or films, itself. Here we have a group of degenerate dirt bags who are harassing a women in a parking lot. They rip up her shirt and film her tits. Apparently, they then sell this footage to some online porn site for cash. Hell of a way to make a living if you ask me. Said degenerates are hired by a mysterious stranger to recover an old V/H/S tape from, what they are told it an abandoned house. Whilst at the house they find that there is not only one tape but many and the house isn't exactly abandoned - there is a fat dead dude staring at a collection of of old TVs and their Poltergeist screens. They decide sitting and watching the tapes with the dead dude is the better part of valor and we have our set up.

Segment One involves another group of dirt bags who have acquired a pair of "spy glasses," the kind with the little camera in the frames. They are going to use said hidden camera to pick up a couple unsuspecting drunk chicks and film them doing all sorts of dirty things. I wonder if they are selling the tape to the same website as the guys in the wraparound? Sadly we never find out as one of the girls turns out to be a little something more than just a drunk slut looking for a good time. It's a good twist, but one you can see coming from a few football fields away. It's also less effective because, other than the dude wearing the glasses, the guys are such douche bags. I couldn't wait for something bad to happen to them.

The next tape comes courtesy of Ti West, director of "House of The Devil" (review here) and "The Innkeepers" (here). Like all West films, this one is very dialogue heavy. Lots of the (very) limited time is spent getting to know out characters. The scares, what few there are, are held for the very end of the short. The twist is a good one, one that most people won't see coming. Wests contribution is the only entry that had me really wishing for more.

Tape 3 is by far the worst of the bunch. Three friends are lured to the woods by their "friend" in order to use as a bait in enticing a serial killer out of hiding. Everything about this is bad. The script makes absolutely zero sense. The acting is horrible and the premise is totally unbelievable. The less said about this entry the better. Moving on...

The fourth entry is by far the best acted of any of the entries, including the wraparounds. Essentially a two person play held over Skype. Helen Rogers as Emily is amazing. Feeling her apartment is haunted she enlists her med student boyfriend to help her spot and eventually communicate with the "ghosts" in her apartment. As Emilys situation becomes more desperate, we learn that neither the apartment nor her boyfriend are what they seem. It's a twist you will absolutely not see coming and changes the way you percieve everything the second time you take a look at it. If you see nothing from this collection other than this, it will be worth it.

For some unknown reason we get the conclusion to the wraparound here, before the last tape. Turns out the "dead guy" wasn't so dead. He's a bit undead and takes out his anger on the intruders in his house.

The last tape is popped and we meet yet another group of faceless twenty somethings as the head to a Halloween party. One of the guys is dressed as a "nanny cam" which is a cool way of getting the Macguffin (the camera in this case) to be omnipresent like it needs to be. In a time before GPS, they guys try navigating with a map! They get lost and end up at what they think is the right house, despite it being empty. Strange things begin to happen, but they think its all part of some haunted house show. Until they reach the attic that is. Realizing they are in over their heads they try to escape, only to find that is not going to happen. This is certainly the best looking of all the segments. it also feels like the most well developed a a concept, from beginning to end. The twist is there, but where as the other segments (particularly Wests) leaves the twist dangling, this gives some sort of visceral conclusion. It's a good, haunting conclusion to the film.

Overall there are some great pieces here, but as I said in the intro, the parts don't necessarily add up to a worthwhile whole. I would have liked to see the middle segment dropped in favor of some more scares for Wests segment, or more from Helen Rogers in the fourth segment. The ends of both those entries felt like they were lacking. Overall, V/H/S is something any horror fan should check out. It's not the best collection of all time but there is enough good going on for me to recommend it.

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