Found footage films: you love them, or you hate them, pretty much either or. Personally, I love them… and this movie as well. “V/H/S/” is a found footage flick, yet it is quite different than the usual ones that you would watch. It is a horror anthology while having its own major story within itself.
It made its Quebec premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
A gang of scoundrels are hired to steal a very rare VHS tape in an old man’s home. They film their crime while breaking and entering and split up throughout the house to find the specific tape. One of the men falls upon the motionless body of the house’s owner, sitting in front of 4 or 5 televisions, static filling the screens. The man appears to be dead, and the thief decides to watch some of the tapes that the elderly man was watching before he died.
Five different tapes are watched, where we discover the following (all filmed in “found footage” style): some guys pick up some girls from a club, hoping to get lucky, but get more than what they bargained for; a couple travelling cross-country have bizarre occurrences in their motel room; some teens looking to party in the woods fall upon a strange serial killer; a girl seems to have creepy child-like spirits in her apartment while having online conversations with a guy; and a gang of guys go to the wrong house for a Halloween party… Seriously, it’s the wrong house.
What I absolutely loved about “V/H/S/” is that you have many different aspects of horror movies jammed into one movie: vampiric creatures, spirits, serial killers… And all this, in addition to the main storyline, circling around the guys trying to steal the VHS tape. I don’t easily get scared, but the more this movie went on, the more creeped out I was, as the little stories got creepier and creepier. Sudden scares and bizarre spirits keep you on edge and make you hope that there are always more creepy videos about to be discovered. What’s great about these short videos (brought together by numerous directors) is that since they wanted to compile many videos within the movie, in addition to the main storyline, the videos do not take too long before getting to the point, so you get to watch numerous little movies within one.
At its first screening ever, the world premiere at the Sundance Festival, two people actually fainted during the screening of this movie. Nobody did during Fantasia’s screening (as Fantasia has die-hard fans screening every one of its movies), yet I looked around during the presentation of the movie, and even some of the macho-looking spectators looked terrified.
I don’t like to hype a movie too much, as people often get too excited for a movie, making them create unbelievable expectations, and then being disappointed. However, all I want to say is that this movie is superbly creepy, and I can’t wait to buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray.
“V/H/S/” is the best movie I’ve seen at the 2012 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival so far, and if you enjoy found footage films, you will definitely enjoy this. That is why I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.