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Tuesday, February 5, 2013



     So I finally got around to watching "V/H/S" last night.  I'd been practically dying to see it, as I'm a regular junkie for horror anthologies. And.... I'm still scratching my head over it.  For a film that was supposed to "restore my faith in horror films", I'm afraid it did quite the opposite.  First of all, I never lost faith in horror films.  Yes, horror today is in a dreadful state.  Sure.  But if I had truly lost faith in horror films, then I wouldn't still be watching them.  I'd wanted to see "V/H/S" since it came out, as I'm usually a huge fan of the "found footage" flicks.  I shoulda just kept waiting.

     Here's the premise.  Apparently, a group of douche-bags are hired to break into this desolate, country home and steal a video tape.  We are never told why they are stealing this particular tape, or what is on it. Nor are we told who exactly wants this tape stolen.  Once the douche-bags arrive, they find a man's dead body sitting in a chair, and a hub of tv screens with tons of video tapes lying around.  Apparently, they don't know which tape to retrieve, so they start popping tapes in, and we are treated, we assume, to the stories on the tapes.  I say assume here, because I honestly didn't know what the hell was going on the entire time I was watching.

       There were some very scary scenes in "V/H/S", but it's such a muddled mess, those scenes are robbed of any impact they might have made.  One of the stories, the one with the bug-eyed weird girl, is actually quite good and disturbing... and I thought it might not be half bad. But 30 minutes later I found myself thinking meh... then another scary moment would happen, only to follow it up with meh... again.  Back and forth.  Finally, we admitted defeat about an hour into it.  We finished it, but barely. This was the longest movie of my life, it seemed.  Just when I thought it was over, someone pops in yet another tape with even more footage.  Too many stories to digest, for sure.

     All this footage is just hurled at us in intervals, and we are somehow supposed to find time to thread it all together into some sort of coherency. Is all this footage somehow connected?  Obviously it is somehow, as all these tapes are found in this deserted house.  But why?  What was the purpose of breaking into the original house to steal the tape in the first place?  lots of douche-baggery to be found, but not much plot.  I found it pretty stupid and un-realistic that a bunch of goons would just break into a house, find a dead man there, and just non-chalantly blunder around while still filming the festivities and going through video tapes.  What is up with the disappearing dead guy?  Was it him who wanted them to come steal the stupid tape in the first place?  Who's the naked guy running around?  And why should we honestly care? This movie reeks of pure laziness.

     Another complaint I have about "V/H/S" is one I find myself applying to many modern horror movies.  Whatever happened to likable characters?  I couldn't wait to see this entire cast dead. Like, for real.  I certainly wouldn't want to know anybody in this movie in real life.  Well, except maybe for the naked guy in the first story...  Everything in "V/H/S" happens to fast, we have no time whatsoever to relate to these characters, or ultimately care what happens to them.  And they're just not likable people. In classic horror films of the day, we actually liked many of those characters.  Whether it was sassy Annie from "Halloween" or goofy Ned from "Friday the 13th", they were fun.  Memorable.  Somewhat real.  We invest time in them, and are ultimately affected by what happens to them.  Not so much here. This all seems very contrived, for the most part. With all the talent involved, I was honestly expecting something more.  This was nothing I haven't seen before, honestly.

     So that's my take on "V/H/S".  This was the first "found footage" flick that I honestly did not like.  It's sad, because it had such potential!  I still think had they cut this in half, and fleshed out say, three of the best stories, this might have been more powerful.  But alas, they didn't.  Oh well.  I suppose I should wrap all this by trying to find something positive to say about this flick.  There is definitely some imagination at work here- maybe a bit too much.  This movie could easily be split up into two separate films, which I think would give the finished project much more impact.  As it is, it's simply way too much crammed into one big mess.  There are some genuinely frightening moments in "V/H/S", and some pretty cool effects as well.  However, to me, it just doesn't all gel together like it should.  There are too many pointless stories going on, and not enough emphasis on the backbone which should tie it all together neatly.  Seems I'm getting negative again.  I think you get the drift by now anyway.

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