87 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
V/H/S is kind of like "Creepshow" meets "The Blair Witch Project" and IMHO it works out pretty well. Our main story (and set up from which to tell the rest of the stories) centers around four no-good wannabe punks. They spend their days committing juvenille crimes like vandalizing private property and terrorizing women. We feel little sympathy for these guys as they look to be at least in their late 20s but are committing petty crimes one would expect teens to commit. Anyway, they are hired by some mysterious porn broker to break into a house where an old man lives and steal a certain VHS tape. What is on the tape? They don't know, but sure as heck going to make copies of it so they can later profit even more from this theft. They find at least a dozen tapes, so in order to find the one they're looking for they begin playing them all. One by one, each tape tells a POV story and are seemingly unrelated. It left me wondering where the old guy gets these tapes.
The first tape they check shows the story of three college age guys through a new pair of spy-cam glasses. Their aim is to find some unwitting female night club patrons, take them back to their motel room and film themselves having sex. One of the girls they choose seems a bit odd, and as she shows more and more signs that tell the guys she isn't quite normal, we learn she has the designs on one of the guys in particular. The second tape shows the rather dreary second honeymoon of a couple of twenty-somethings as they tour the American Southwest. One night a mysterious woman knocks on their motel room door asking for a ride. When the husband declines, someone begins stalking them. A fortune the wife recieves earlier does all the foreshadowing we need. On the third tape we are shown the story of four youths who are going into the woods for the day to swim in an old-fashioned swimmin' hole. The catch is the girl leading the expedition has a secret, rather selfish reason for bringing the others. I don't think I'm too far over the line by saying this story seems to be influenced by "The Marble Hornets" web series. The fourth tape features a series of web-cam sessions between a couple of young lovers. The girl begins thinking her apartment is haunted and asks her boyfriend to be her moral support and record different rooms of her apartment via his web cam. The truth, however, is something that may even be too far out there that the writers of "The X-Files" couldn't have thought it up. The last tape shows us a group of guys who haven't outgrown their love of Halloween. When they get to a house they think a costume party is being thrown at they find the place deserted, except the lights are all on and they can hear voices upstairs. As they explore the house, some strange occurences make them believe they actually entered one of those funhouses that crop up every Halloween. Once they find the source of the voices, up in the attic, they realize what they were experiencing was no funhouse gag but something very supernatural, and before they can leave the house it'll get a whole lot worse.
As another reviewer said, this is a wild movie. I happen to love the POV subgenre of horror movies (when it's done right) and given that with an anthology you won't have that much time for character development (or even story development for that matter) and given some of these stories leave more questions than answers this was a fun, entertaining film. Be warned: if you like your movies squeaky clean with minimal profanity, little graphic violence, no drugs and no nudity, this film is NOT for you. I also hope, like another reviewer said, they meake a sequel of this movie soon. The premise is easy to set-up, and given the number of VHS tapes that were in the house that we didn't get to see, the possibilities are limitless, even if the budget isn't.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
Seeing this on both Netflix and Amazon, and having a name I was unfamiliar with, I figured it would be just another low budget horror flick, but I was wrong. I was expecting to turn the movie off within 10 minutes, but ended up watching it all while wanting more when it ended. Sure... there are a few small things I would have done to change it, particularly at the end - something happens that I've seen in the movie Grave Encounters, it was something cheesy, in my opinion. But for the most part, this is really interesting and freaky. It is definitely worth AT LEAST a one time watch.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A group of vandals / thieves / videographers break into a house in order to steal a specific VHS tape. Once inside, they find the place empty, except for one room. In this room is a stack of televisions, a VCR, and an old man in a chair. This forms the wrap-around story for the events on a tape already in the VCR. VIDEO ONE has a trio of drunken pervs, out to secretly record their sexual exploits. The tables are turned on them, and they become human prey. VIDEO TWO is about a young couple on vacation. Their trip soon becomes a nightmare when someone enters their room while they sleep. On VIDEO THREE, a group of four hikers are out for a serene walk through the woods. Unfortunately, someone / something is out to ruin their little nature walk. VIDEO FOUR is a gruesome, supernatural story told over several days, via internet video. It's a cautionary tale that is best summed up in the words, "Trust no one". VIDEO FIVE concerns four guys and a Halloween party. Things fly out of control, and the four are plunged into a demonic night of death. As the burglars watch the tape, they slowly realize that things are not as they appear, and that they are in big trouble. VHS is a brilliant twist on the anthology film, and succeeds in being everything that "found footage" movies like BLAIR WITCH PROJECT should have been! Highly recommended...
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2013
First off, let me say, I am not a fan of hand held first person POV movies. It started off with the Blair Witch Project, and I have hated films like it ever since. But something about the trailer to this one looked interesting, and I'm glad I didn't turn my nose up at this one now. V/H/S starts off with the POV cam type of thing where a few guys are smashing things up, and preying on women by ganging up on her and forcing her to allow them to expose her body on cam. I think it was something about them getting paid to do that for money to sell it to internet site perverts and sickos, or something about that. I have a feeling this might be why so many reviews here are for 1 star, because at this point of the movie I was ready to turn it off too and dismiss this as being a POS if this was what the movie was going to be about.
Luckily I held in there and got past that crap, and the story gets better as these guys are asked to break into a house somewhere and steal a VHS tape. These idiots record themselves doing this, but that's when this thing starts to get better. As a couple of the guys explore this house looking for a specific tape, another one is left to view what tapes have been left around to try and figure out which tape it is this person who has asked for it wants.
One by one they start watching a tape left in this house, and it then shows the footage of what is on the tapes. Each tape is something different, that is horrific, weird and paranormal. It's kind of like little short horror movies, each being different, but each being shot from a hand held camera, or vacation type of video.
It ranges from a couple of voyeurs who try to expose the wrong girl, to a couple on vacation who probably should have given a kid a ride, next is a Blair Witch knock off of a killer who can't be filmed for some reason, to a haunted house where something strange is happening upstairs. I think there was more?
Overall, by the end of the film, I thought it was a pretty decent movie. It didn't try to claim the footage was supposedly real, so I went in without that seed of wanting to roll my eyes at everything and say "who are these filmmakers trying to kid?" but surprisingly I'm saying the opposite to what I often think of a lot of movies, and that is the first half of this movie is not so great, but the second half picks up and really goes full steam ahead with some decent short stories.
the end scene is a bit of a let down, as it pretty much had the same ending as Blair Witch, which by the way, did I mention I fricken hate that #1 over-hyped P.O.S? Or does #1 go to Paranormal Activity? Hmmm... hard choice. So by saying that, if you too hated those movies, and these Cloverfield kind of shot films, then take my word and just give this one a go. Maybe skip the first 10 minutes or so, it's useless footage if you ask me, but once the ball starts rolling, you might be like me and actually find that there is a lot more here then just an attempt at a cheaply made movie. I don't think this one was as cheap as some people might think?
Actually, I think I know what it is that makes me like this more than the other ones I mentioned now... it's probably because it actually shows things, whether it be by SFX, CGI or camera tricks, at least they show you kills, ghosts, and decent FX shots. Unlike Blair Witch or P.A movies where you expect to see something, and there is nothing there to see but someone being thrown across the screen on wires and you are expected to be scared simply by noise effects and screaming. This one shows the lot, and is an enjoyable ride to the end.
Give a rent or DL at least before dismissing it as just another cheap attempt at low budget horror.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
the movie at first start off slowly towards but as the mivie moved towards the end of story, it started to pick up and everything about the movie actually followed together I actually have to say despite some of the parts looking cheesy the other parts were actually very well done.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
An excellent concept: a horror anthology in the found-footage format. Yes a lot of found-footage films suck. V/H/S doesn't. The film has five tales, six counting the wrap-around. The conversations and characters are a lot more realistic then your average found-footage piece with plenty of inside jokes and innuendos that would genuinely exist among real folk. The first and last stories are the best, with one revolving around three drunken morons trying to film a sex tape with a very strange girl they just met; the other having four friends expecting a Halloween party but instead walk into a house of horrors. Watch this one night, it's really not all bad.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
“V/H/S” is one of those movies that simply shouldn’t work. For one, a Video Home System (VHS) is a quaintly outdated technology, along the lines of the Atari 2600. Kids today have no idea what it means to “tape” something since nothing is actually on tape. But that’s irrelevant, because “V/H/S” mines that nostalgia for its creep factor – that’s right, modern horror movies now treat VHS like 80s horror movies treated black-and-white films. Don’t you feel old?
“V/H/S” is essentially a short story collection of horror tales, similar to “Tales from the Crypt.” The difference is that the films are each “found footage” – the premise being that these are movies someone could make themselves “V/H/S” does acrobatics to make this premise work, but if you can look past that, it’s actually a creepy collection of horror stories.
The framing story, “Tape 56,” makes no bones about its protagonists – unlike typical Stephen King films where being slovenly or rude is grounds to be eaten by a monster, the reality film crew who decides to take on this job to find tape 56 are bottom-feeding scum who assault women by tearing off their tops and filming it. They are, in essence, the oozing reality of the nastiest part of the Internet. With no morals to speak of, they eagerly take on a high-paying job to break into a house to retrieve tape 56, only to discover an old man dead before a bank of televisions screens filled with white noise. Of course, the old man isn’t quite as dead as they believe, and in an effort to find the tape the various criminals (geniuses all) play the tapes, alone with the dead body, to see if they can find the right tape. SPOILER ALERT: This is a terrible idea.
A crook plunks in a video, a blue screen winds up, and we’re off to our first short story, “Amateur Night.” This little film, one of the better ones, features another icky plot: Clint (said amateur) is wearing spycam glasses that record his every move with the intent of creating amateur porn by getting women drunk and taking them back to a hotel. They get more than they bargained for with Lily, who really, really likes Clint. This is a standard femme fatale film that rises above its source material because it’s not afraid to delve into the squick of amateur porn.
“Second Honeymoon” features a couple on a road trip, Sam and Stephanie. After a mysterious female stranger asks Sam for a ride and he rebuffs her, we see the camcorder turned on the sleeping arguments and menaced with a knife (among other nasty things). The twist ending may catch some viewers by surprise.
“Tuesday the 17th” features three friends and archetypes – Joey, Spider, Samantha, and Wendy – on a camping trip that retraces the steps of a mass murder the previous year. It turns out one of the members is actually playing a cat-and-mouse game with the slasher, who still haunts the grounds, and what could easily be a rehash of “H20” turns into a thrilling battle of wits and grainy video effects.
“The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily when She Was Younger” is an intriguing premise between Emily, who believes she is slowly losing her mind, and James, her boyfriend who also happens to be a doctor. Their video chats slowly get more and more strange, beginning with a haunting and becoming much worse than that. This segment is filled with so many plot twists it threatens to unravel, but the shocking conclusion (and the complicity of its antagonist) works well.
“10/31/98” features Chad, Matt, Tyler, and Paul dressed up in the late 90s for a Halloween party. They end up at the wrong place and stumble upon a human sacrifice. Thinking at first this is all part of a haunted house – milked for considerable laughs – the Scooby gang finally realizes it’s not a joke and start taking things seriously. They try to rescue the sacrifice in question, to their ultimate detriment.
“V/H/S’s” quality is determined by its short films, and although they are a little uneven, there’s not a stinker in the bunch. If there’s a weak point, it’s the overarching narrative, filled with nonsensical rationale and stupid victims. But since they had it coming, and the collected videos are so good, it’s easy to overlook.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
V/H/S (Adam Wingard et al., 2012)
Everyone and their mothers has already weighed in on V/H/S, and they have all said the same thing: "it's too damn long." Add my voice to the chorus; this is a two-hour movie that should have been 1:40 tops. Bloody-disgusting's Brad Miska, who put the whole thing together, didn't feel the need (or have the know-how, I'm not sure which) to cut this down to a length where it would have worked. That's a shame, because a number of talented directors turned in halfway decent work here, and some of it would have benefitted from a bit of trimming.
First off, there's Adam Wingard's framing device, "Tape 56." This had the most egregious material; we could have easily lost half of the beginning segment without losing anything from the movie at all. The story involves a bunch of roustabouts who break into a house in order to steal a videotape; they find the owner dead and a whole lot of tapes, and have no idea which one they're supposed to grab, necessitating them watching a whole lot of them.
Then comes "Amateur Night", directed by David Bruckner (The Signal). Given how much I enjoyed The Signal, I'm disappointed to report this is the weakest entry in the lot, lacking Bruckner's humor and insight; it could have easily found its way to the cutting room floor complete. Bruckner does good work, he just didn't do it here.
"Second Honeymoon" is the entry from Ti West (The House of the Devil), the most accomplished filmmaker of the bunch. And up until the final few minutes, this tale of a married couple being stalked by a mysterious figure on a roadtrip is the best of the bunch; unfortunately, the "twist" ending is just ludicrous. While the rest of the short is of Innkeepers quality, the ending is The Roost quality. And Ti West is a filmmaker who should never, ever go back and revisit his roots.
Then comes Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead)'s "Tuesday the 17th", in which a group of friends goes out to the woods to have a good time and finds themselves stalked by a seemingly otherworldly serial killer. It's not a bad concept, and it's not bad execution, though it's nowhere near as good as I Sell the Dead, McQuaid's sole feature-length release to date. This is one where judicious editing could have helped, but given the rest of the segments here, this one comes off as middle-of-the-road; it's not great, but it's not as bad as a few of these.
Next, "The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger", helmed by Joe Swanberg (the male lead in "Second Honeymoon"); this is the one where it's most obvious a firmer hand in the cutting room would have been a great idea. Trimmed by even a few minutes, especially at the end, this would have easily been the movie's creepiest, most effective tale, about a girl who believes her apartment is haunted, told completely through Skype sessions with her husband, who's away on business. Excellent stuff that suffers from a lack of pacing throughout and a truly weak ending (had it stopped about three minutes before it does, it would have had much greater impact). Swanberg (Kissing on the Mouth) is a director with a great deal of potential, but like any director, he needs to get the right crew working with him, and he didn't have the right editor on this one.
Finally, the four-man team known as Radio Silence turn in "10/31/98", the best short here, about a group of friends who misread the address on an invitation and end up going to the wrong house indeed looking for a Halloween party. These guys did their own editorial work, and they did it very well; this is the best-paced segment of the bunch by far (though it probably still could have lost a minute or two towards the beginning), tight, funny when it's supposed to be and tense the rest of the time. A little predictable once you get to the meat of the story, but the journey, not the destination, is the thing here.
It certainly doesn't live up to all the hype, and I sincerely hope Miska, who is already wrapping up the sequel (S-VHS), learned from the mistakes that were made with this one. On the other hand, it's not as bad as you've heard, if you ignore the hype and go into it with no expectations. It certainly could have been miles worse. ** ½
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised at "VHS." A group of unsavory jerks/criminals break into a house & find a stash of unmarked tapes, each one more creepy & disturbing than the last. I don't want to give too much away but I'm glad I watched this & I think you'll enjoy it too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2013
Actually, given the same old story lines and poor acting that are typical of the genre to the point that they are destroying it, "V/H/S" had some interesting sub-stories (my personal favorites were the first and last ones). For me, it was rather difficult to see how the sub-stories tied in to the original premise, but I took it as what one reviewer labeled it: a POV horror anthology. Kind of a "Creepshow" for the "found footage" generation, if you will. There is still a little life left in the genre; "V/H/S" showed some real potential. What will be the next big thing in horror?