Sunday, September 9, 2012


I had been keeping an eye on this one for months, as I'm a fan of Adam Wingard and Ti West, which you already knew if you've been visiting the Batcave for any length of time. Their work isn't for everybody, but personally I have yet to be disappointed by either of them. Enter V/H/S, the much hyped new horror anthology which features the talents of the aforementioned writer/directors, as well as a few more of the newcomers on the indie circuit including David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Glenn McQuaid, and Joe Swanberg. Some of them I'm fairly familiar with, some I'd never heard of. So I didn't really know what I was getting into with a few of the installments, but what I did know was that I enjoy a good horror anthology, and I felt confident that I would at least be able to call V/H/S that. Did it deliver? Yes and no, as with most anthologies, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

I've been reading all of the reactions from around the net, and overall it seems as if most people see this movie as a bust, in a big way. Me? As usual, I find that I'm a bit more forgiving than most, and there were things about the movie that I really liked. The parts I didn't really like didn't necessarily make me hate the movie though. I'm not going to bore anybody with yet another segment by segment breakdown, nor am I going into yet another overly wordy synopsis of the plot. The thing is, it's pretty simple, guys break into a house looking for a particular tape, while looking for said tape they watch other tapes, which end up being the segments. We aren't told why they're looking for the tape, what's on the tape, etc. That's the plot follks, how other bloggers and reviewers have managed to analyze and bitch about this for paragraph after paragraph is beyond me. These are people who aren't happy regardless, if they had been given an explanation, or actually even shown the tape being searched for, they would've bitched about that too. This is why despite reviews, I tend to watch anything I'm interested in and form my own opinion, which I sometimes take the time to write down here in the Batcave, and fully expect to be ignored. But I digress.

In keeping with being as simple and to the point as possible, I'll just say what I liked and what I didn't. First, the bookend story, Tape 56, with the guys looking for the tape was done by Adam Wingard. Being as it wasn't really a segment, but more of a little way to transition from segment to segment, I had no problems with it. Wasn't expecting much, so for it to have been as involved as it was, I felt was a nice touch. The first segment from David Bruckner, Amateur Night, ended up being the creepiest and my personal favorite. If that chick had looked at the screen one more time and said "I like you" I probably would've screamed and thrown my remote through the tv. The second installment, Second Honeymoon, from Ti West, was my second favorite. It was simple, I enjoyed the camera work, it was creepy, and it had a twist ending. In short, it was a fucking Ti West film, only shortened. What's there to complain about? 10/31/98 from Radio Silence was the footage from the trailer that had me the most pumped, the ghost hands on the walls and shit? Creepy! This one had a group of college guys trying to find a Halloween party, and inadvertently interrupting a sacrifice ritual that would've stopped all the supernatural shenanigans that ended up going down. It wasn't quite as creepy as it looked in the trailer, but I still enjoyed the hell out of this one, and effects wise, it was probably the most ambitious.

What I didn't like, or "the rest of the film". Tuesday the 17th wasn't necessarily bad, it just wasn't particularly good either. It was the most generic, safest entry. I suppose being that the title of the movie is V/H/S, that's the reason the killer's face was always shown as some sort of distortion? Or maybe I'm reading too much into that, I dunno. But I didn't really care for it, yet another "teens go into the woods and fall victim to a supernatural killer" movie. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger ended up being my least favorite installment, simply because when it ended all I could say was "what the fuck?". I had no idea what I'd just watched. Skyping with her boyfriend about her apartment being haunted, but it turns out it wasn't haunted and he was behind the whole thing, and there's a tracking device in her arm, and her boyfriend has to cut some weird thing out of her repeatedly? And she's not the only woman he does this to? Huh?

A lot of the negativity surrounding V/H/S seems to be coming from people who are quick to admit they're tired of or have never liked found footage films. I can't help but wonder what the fuck these people even watched the movie for. I don't like fantasy stuff, dragons, wizards, and knights don't do shit for me. So guess what? You won't be seeing a review of The Hobbit here in the Batcave, as I already know I don't like it. When all was said and done, all my first viewing of V/H/S did was leave me wanting to watch it again. I'd call that a success. I've seen it one more time since, and again, I had pretty much the same reaction. There were parts I liked and parts I didn't. But I can't help but feel like this movie is getting a ton of hate simply because of how much it was talked about from the festival circuit before it was released to the masses. To me, that isn't fair, but that's the internet.

V/H/S isn't exactly the new Creepshow, but it's a solid enough horror anthology with work from some of the best of the upcoming generation of filmmakers. It doesn't fire on all cylinders, but it never stops being entertaining either. The entire thing is done using the found footage method, which I dig, but can completely see the merits of all the arguments against. If it's not your thing, I doubt you'll find much to like here. If you're like me, and still enjoy a good found footage flick, by all means give V/H/S a watch. I'm anxiously awaiting the day that I can add it to my collection.


threels said...

I've watched the trailer several times and looked it up on IMDB but missed the fact Adam Wingard was involved...I should be ashamed

Mister Bones said...

I'm ashamed that I never brought that to your attention until now.

Eric King said...

In complete agreement with your overall assessment of the film. We did like some of the segments in different order, but now I'm kinda having a hard time understanding why so many people talked so much shit about this film. I ended up watching it alone last night at around 1 a.m. and had to watch a Foo Fighters concert on tv afterward so I could go to fucking sleep.

Sunny Kirby said...

This movie creeped the shit out of me. I LOVED it, beginning to end! First movie in a while that has left me uneasy after watching it.

I like the unexplained aspects. Over analyzing and the need to create complete closure in a horror film is what ruins it for me, usually. Is this because, above all, I fear the unknown? Quite possibly.
Whatever the reason - V/H/S was a win, in my opinion. Gonna be hard to top!