Horror anthologies offer an outlet for filmmakers to shine in short form, oftentimes lending life to ideas that otherwise might not have made it to the screen. In the case of 2012’s V/H/S, an anthology of short found-footage pieces, the form works exceptionally well. Following a group of criminals searching for a rare VHS tape in a seemingly abandoned house, the movie offers a distinct sense that the viewers are seeing something that was not meant to be seen.
Capitalizing on the benefits of the anthology format, V/H/S truly shines in that it offers something for everyone. Each segment offers a unique array of scares and, for the most part, some very original setups. While some segments are better than others, any anthology is bound to be a mixed bag, and the film truly outshines other recent horror anthologies such as ABC’s of Death and Deadtime Stories. The movie sets out to be fiercely original, and succeeds in being unlike any other respectable anthology to date.
Unfortunately, though, the film does suffer from a certain roller coaster effect. That is, by starting the film out with a bang in the “Amateur Night” segment, other shorts such as Ti West’s “Second Honeymoon” pale in comparison. That’s not to say that the movie suffers greatly from this whiplash effect, but there is something to be said for consistent pacing.
All in all, V/H/S was a superb attempt to breathe life back into the found footage genre, offering up a number of unique takes on common subject matters. Regardless of the fact that most viewers are bound to like some segments and dislike others, V/H/S is definitely worth a watch, even if only for the superb “Amateur Night.”
Directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and Radio Silence
Written by Brad Miska, Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, and Radio Silence
Starring Calvin Reeder, Hannah Fierman, Joe Swanberg, Norma Quinones, Hellen Rogers, and Chad Villella