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Friday, October 5, 2012

V/H/S Found Footage Has Never Been More Scary

Night of the shaky came might be a more apt title, but I can't think of a better horror film anthology or horror film for Halloween than V/H/S. Five found films are around a story of some video-taping hooligans. These aren't parents having sex or bad indie music videos, this found footage targets the fear centers of the brain, by both being so realistic and being so off-putting for the non-squeamish.

Here's some interviews from writers, cast and crew from the film.

So spoiler alert, I'm going through each of the films and the wraparound film Tape 56.

The wrap-around story connecting the films together "Tape 56" is a good premise, but had me going, "eh" , could have had a better ending. Good premise, bad ending might repeat itself throughout this review, but you're also getting originality with 6 different directors all doing what they wanted with no oversight by a big studio.

Amateur Night- Time to get drunk and party, but first put on some sneaky camera glasses. From what seems to be a stupid night out with friends leading to some naughty sexy time leads to regret of losing ones man parts. Love, loss and horrible pain from something unknown will be ending sexy time. That sexy time is brought to you by actress Hannah Fierman whose eyes will insatiably entice you or frighten you. I'd like to see her and Miranda July have a staring contest.

This was one of the more creative films that got a lot from the spy glasses concept.

Lesson: Drink responsibly


Second Honeymoon- The weakest of the the films in the anthology and sad, because it was done by Ti West, whose film "The Innkeepers", I really enjoyed last year. Premise good, pay off bad. A young couple is out on their honeymoon enjoying themselves when a strange girl ask for a ride. Things get only stranger when only the audience realizes someones breaking into their room at night.There's a bit of foreshadowing the tricks you, but it overall just could have had more of ending and actual horror.

Lesson: Be careful who you trust.





Tuesday the 17th- Classic take on the genre of teenagers go camping. There's a great twist as to why they've come to the woods even though it starts off like every other slasher about teens going into the woods. The special effects for the murderer shined through and brought up the piece in spectating value. It's a gimmick, but a creepy gimmick that works. Extra points for fun title.

Lesson: Just because you've made plans, doesn't mean they'll always work.



The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger- Skype calls about a haunting started off a great relationship story and  set a scary background for this film. A relationship just over the internet was another nice found footage premise. A young woman believes herself to be haunted and you will too, a boyfriend tries to give the best advice possible as things get worse for her. The ending is so from left field I felt it just became comical instead of scary. Helen Rogers was excellent in her part, it was never the actors in these films that did anything wrong, it's just writing would not stick for many films.

Lesson: Distant relationships aren't close.




10/31/98- This was my favorite of the films. Strangely, it played after the last part of "Tape 56". It was good to put it at the end as it closely resembles the drunken bros out for an evening of fun in the first found tape. Four friends are out to have fun on Halloween night and head to a Haunted House party. Turns out they don't realize they got the real deal. Starting off subtly with simple tricks that possibly only the viewer might pick up like a chair changing position or a stuffed animal moving to where it shouldn't be the film picks up for a grandiose action scene. Something of a cult or worship is behind what's happening and when things finally hit their breaking point the Haunted House pulls off all the tricks. Best special effects of any of the films.

Lesson: Use Google maps.

End of spoilers

Though there's no reason there should ever be a Blu-ray copy, it's all old VHS quality, this is something to enjoy for Halloween, horror fans, or to scare someone new in your life. Those sick of shaky cam steer clear, it's all from the perspective of those not known to handle cameras.

I barely noticed, but a friend brought up how most of the films empowered women or they took on the role of taking control, not with the best result, but one film does flip this standard.

V/H/S has plenty of frights and while other films this Halloween will spend millions on scaring you they won't be as close to scary real to you as seeing footage that looks like it was shot by you. Every story started off like something you might see on YouTube, but gets quite intense and will have you leaning in or wanting to know the answers. Found footage in real life like V/H/S only leads to more questions and you staying awake at night.

Catch it on Demand or at the Nuarte for it's one week run here in LA.