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October 19, 2012

When a group of degenerates, whose hobbies include theft and being  menaces to society, are asked steal a mysterious VHS tape from the home of an old man, all hell breaks loose. Once in the home, each member, who is also filming their exploits, is tasked with the duty of searching through an array of tapes to find the right one. One by one, they sit down to watch what has been recorded on the tapes, becoming intrigued as well as outraged by what they see. The content of the tapes is what viewers of V/H/S witness. Directed by various directors, V/H/S is an anthology film that is an unpredictably frightening amalgam of gruesome stories and images that may leave you feeling confused and uneasy by the time it ambiguously ends.

V/H/S’ individuality comes from nearly aspect of its conception. Vignette styled films have been around since the early 1900s, but most notably and recently by the likes of the horror film  Trick R’ Treat and the romantic Paris Je T’aime, which was famed for featuring a slew of directors who told individual stories all connected by the over arching theme of expressing love for and within Paris. V/H/S takes the structure of past anthology films and molds it into an ingenious, innovative package that is bone chilling and haunting. Yet unlike its predecessors, there is no link between the stories featured in V/H/S. What happens in one segment has no connection with another or the main background narrative. In fact, the only element each segment has in common is that they are all slice of life happenings that viewers of the film are exposed to. Everything is shot through first person point of view and viewers are thrown head first into outlandishly creepy stories.  If the person holding the camera looks away from the action, then viewers are also disbarred from seeing it as well making us passive exhibitioners to the screwed up situations that take place.

Thus, this is V/H/S’ shining glory, its ability to not only be creepy but truly frightening. There’s blood, guts, slashers, demons, ghosts, and aliens, but done in such a realistic, captivating way that they are far from cheesy in their effect. The most frightening aspect of V/H/S is its ability to destroy your expectations as a viewer. You’ll be hard pressed to find a “bad guy” early on in any story. Most of the featured characters seem non-threatening and often times throughout each segment I was anxious for further story development because it was hard to guess what horrific situations could arise from the leisure laid back atmosphere of what’s recorded. The camera holder is usually filming the shenanigans and passing of time with their friends until bam! Out of nowhere an unexpected death happens or an entity appears.

V/H/S does a magnificent job of implementing creative, unpredictable plot turns that throw audiences through a loop. There’s barely a beginning, middle, or end to stories and viewers are submersed into situations and forced to watch as unspeakable acts are committed leaving your heart pounding and a multitude of questions. The air of mistrust in V/H/S is a refreshing element that is missing in today’s horror films. To prompt genuine terror in viewers, a horror film must be void of cheap scares and predictability and V/H/S understands that to a T. Because of that understanding, it embarks on being a shocking vignette that made me sit in utter disbelief and shock by the end. All my biggest fears were exposed and prodded throughout V/H/S, with the biggest being the over arching theme of mistrust. Not only is the film itself incapable of holding your trust but so are the characters.

V/H/S explores the evil of humanity and how technology has allowed people to feel comfort in their debaucheries and lack morality. It’s ok to physically degrade a women when you’re behind a video camera, it’s ok to scare unsuspecting strangers because it’s funny when it’s being recorded, it’s fine to deceive others  because they won’t even know it since a camera is stopping blocking them from seeing the real person behind it. Also the emphasis on how digital can capture an image compared to video is brilliantly displayed. If you’re a hardcore horror fan, then V/H/S is a must see film. It’s a mix between Creepshow, Harmony Korine’s Trash Humper’s, and Paranormal Activity, but so much better and so much more fucked up.

SEE IT. If you love horror films then do yourself a favor and see it now!

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