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V/H/S DVD Review

VHS DVD

“V/H/S” scares up more frustrations than chills.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a horror anthology junkie. So, as you can probably guess, I had a lot of hopes for the latest anthological horror film, “V/H/S.” Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed as the execution of this ambitious horror film left a lot to be desired.

“V/H/S” is anthological horror film comprised of 5 stories with a wrap around story involving criminals breaking into a house to find a videotape for someone. As the criminals sort through the tapes to find “the one,” the film cuts to the 5 tapes/stories that the criminals put on to check the tapes. While the wrap around story may sound interesting on paper, it doesn’t make much sense and quickly falls apart in the end. Really though, people won’t be watching this movie for the wrap around so let me get to what you want to read about (the 5 stories).

The first story (titled “Amateur Night”) is about 3 drunken, horny dudes hoping to score with women. The guys get an unexpected surprise when one of the girls turns out to be…well, I won’t spoil what. The nauseating cinematography is a real turn off here as you feel like you have to take Dramamine the entire time, but the special f/x and the ending are decidedly well done.

Next up is a story dubbed “Second Honeymoon.” It involves a married couple being preyed upon by a masked individual. Director Ti West does a good job of building suspense, but the abrupt and rushed ending wind up ruining the whole story.

The third tale here (“Tuesday The 17th) sees a young woman named Wendy bringing 3 friends to the woods in order to bring a killer out of hiding. The killer, however, somehow causes camera errors rendering him nothing more than a blur the entire time. This is another poorly executed story. I don’t know what the intention or the reason of the blurred killer was, but it’s certainly not interesting to watch.

“The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger” is another story that starts out well, but ends with a whimper. Cleverly told entirely through web cams, the story revolves around a series of video chats between Emily and her boyfriend as they deal with Emily’s place being allegedly haunted. There’s more to it than that, but anything else would be spoiling the surprise (however lame it may be). This is little more than a shock horror short that doesn’t amount to much.

Last, but not least there is “10/31/98” which is far and away the highlight here. The plot finds 4 friends venturing to a Halloween party at one messed up house. This is how a haunted house story should be. Not only is it creepy, but it relentlessly throws everything at you leaving you gripping your chair. I loved seeing a story that goes all out in trying to unnerve the audience.

Video/Audio:

The film, which is presented in 1.78:1, looks very much like a series of VHS recordings. The picture quality is really quite irrelevant here. The same can be said for the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

Extras:
* Magnet, Magnolia, AXS TV ads, and 2 “V/H/S” trailers.
* Cast and crew interviews with Ti West, Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, Brad Miska and Zak Zeman, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, David Bruckner and Glenn McQuaid, and Joe Swanberg and Simon Barrett. The writers and directors talk about their shorts, how scenes were filmed, etc.
* Conceptual Design Gallery for the Lilly character in “Amateur Night.”
* Behind The Scenes Photo Still Gallery.
* “AXS TV: A Look At V/H/S”- Standard featurette that sells the film.
* An alternate ending to “10/31/98” which was wisely deleted.
* “More Tuesday The 17th”- 2 ½ minutes of deleted scenes from this segment.
* Webcam Interviews with Joe Swanberg, Simon Barrett and Helen Rogers talking about “The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger.”
* “Amateur Night: Balloon Night”- A behind-the-scenes video about balloons. It’s about as exciting as it sounds.
* A massive, talkative, laidback commentary by Brad Miska, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Helen Rogers, Joe Swanberg, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Justin Martinez, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella, David Bruckner, Roxanne Benjamin and Gary Binkow.

Summary: While the effort is appreciated, “V/H/S” just falls flat for the most part. Hopefully, the the upcoming sequel “S-VHS” turns out better.

December 8, 2012 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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