31 in 31: V/H/S


Story: A few guys who are up to no good started makin’ trouble in my neighborhood decide to try for some easy money. All they have to do is steal an old VHS tape from some guy’s house. Easy, right? But as they watch the tapes to see which one to take… well, let’s just say it’s not that easy.

Scares: Quiet a few. In fact, V/H/S is probably the most effective horror anthology I’ve seen in a long time. And did I mention I love anthologies? ‘Cause I do.

Splat Factor: So-so. The effects are chilling, but as with most found-footage flicks, most of the action (and gore) is either off-screen, shot in dizzying camera style, or blurry.

Closing Scene “Shocker”?: Yes and no. Since this anthology is kinda like a found-footage EC comic, there are plenty of surprises. But these are the good kind.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: A found-footage anthology? It’s not only original, it’s one of a kind.

Trick or Treat?: Mmm, like a goodie bag of candy, there may be one or two that aren’t to your liking, but damn if the whole package isn’t awesome.  That’s because in addition to having the whole anthology — or as I like to think of it “if you don’t like this one don’t worry, there’s a new one coming shortly” — thing going for it, each story is directed by someone different.  Or, in the case of the final story, sombodies different.  (Note to self: make sure to check out anything Radio Silence ever does again, ever.)  The stories?  Okay, here’s a little taste:

* Tape 56 (the wrap-around story): see above.
* Amateur Night: y’know fellas.  We tell you this over and over.  DO NOT pick up strange girls then try to take advantage of them.  Oops, too late.
* Second Honeymoon: I figured this “married couple checks out their fortune” piece would be like the old Twilight Zone ep.  Nope.
* Tuesday the 17th: Hey, let’s go camping!  Did I mention this place is where some gruesome murders took place…starring the friends I knew before I met you guys?
* The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger: Um.  Using Skype to have your boyfriend help you check out the creepy sounds in your apartment isn’t gonna help you, girlie.  Not one bit.
* 10/31/98: A group of guys head out to a Halloween party.  Bonus points for this story using a “Nanny Cam” costume as it’s source of the whole taping thing. Oh, and for being the absolute best of this pretty damn good bunch.

V/H/S is amazing just for it’s ability to breathe life into the found-footage genre. With this film and Sinister, it looks like this sub-genre isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Though Tuesday the 17th feels like a boring, silly ripoff of The Blair Witch Project, on the whole V/H/S is definitely worth your trying to scare it up (see what I did there? Oh fine.)

 

Score: out of 5 pumpkins.

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