Hello, Spongey here.
I think it’s time to tackle an actual horror film this month. And I picked one I’ve been quite interested in for awhile. It’s a weird choice to review, but eh, it could be fun.
I’m not sure how to introduce this one. It’s an Anthology film from 2012 that I’ve heard decent things about. Being an Anthology film, the reception was mixed, but it did well enough to get a sequel.
I’ve heard that one is better, but we’re talking about this one. Considering the last anthology film with a wraparound, directed and written by many people,i reviewed, I’m at least hopeful it will be better, being a horror film and all.
It won’t be nearly as scary, but we’ll see. You would think I have more to say here, but I don’t. There’s a Wikipedia page, for useless info, you know.
So yeah, let’s just jump in and see how good this film is. If it’s good at all.
This, is V/H/S
The movie opens with our framing narrative, which is found footage, of course. Our Camera holder is part of a group of criminals and he’s still more likable than Micah. By the way, this guy is a crappy camera man as I can’t see a damn thing half the time.
They do things like assaulting women and destroying abandoned houses. We get a few minutes of them doing stuff, until we find out they got a job given to them by an anonymous third party who is willing to pay them a large sum of money to burglarize a house and steal a single VHS videotape.
Well, these guys are dead.
When they get there, they find the dead body of an old guy. One dude stays with it while the others find the tape. He sees a tape in a VCR right there, so, for no reason he watches it. This takes into our first short. Eh, I’ve seen worse wrap arounds.
This first film is called “Amateur Night”. We open with 3 dudes in a Motel Room, as one guy’s glasses have a small hidden camera, which they will use to turn his sexual exploits into amateur porn. Sure, why not.
After a drunken montage, they stop at a bar where Clint makes a mysterious woman who says very little outside of “I like you”. Well, he’s dead.
They take her, along with another chick, back to the motel for some sexytimes. Is it a good time to mention that these 3 guys are obnoxious as all hell? Cuz they are. But I’ll talk about that when this segment is over.
The “Normal” chick passes out so of course one guy tries to do her anyway. Thankfully, no rape happens, and instead we are trapped to one guy about to have sex with the weird chick. He gets her naked and then they do it. It starts to get a bit out of hand as it almost becomes a threesome.
So…when does something interesting happen? I’ll give it a few more minutes.
“She just fucking bit me!”
Yep, Patrick apparently got bit by Lilly, the weird chick. I only know her name because of Wikipedia, the film has not said it at all yet. Lilly takes out her best screamer face and kills Shane. Now we’re getting somewhere!
Clint tries to fight Lisa but he get his asses handed to him. She drinks Patrick’s blood and Clint tries to escape. He falls down some stairs and breaks his wrist. Well, he’s dead.
Lilly catches up to him, but instead of attacking him…she tries to blow him. …Now I’ve seen everything. He’s, understandably, not aroused and she cries. He uses this chance to escape but Lilly catches him.
By that I mean she becomes a bat creature and picks him up into the air. Wow, when did this segment get AWESOME!?
His glasses fall off and the video cuts out. End segment. Of course it ends when it gets good. I won’t grade them, but I will “review” them. It was pretty annoying, but it had an awesome ending, so I’ll let it slide.
After some pointless stuff in the framing thing, another tape is played and we get our 2nd Segment, called “Second Honeymoon”. A couple is heading out for their, you guessed it, 4th Honeymoon. On the way to some place, they stop an old Wild West Town.
They come across a fortune telling machine thingy. It tells them that the wife will soon be reunited with an old love. Well, she’s dead.
They go to a motel room, and I think motel room’s are gonna be a theme in this movie. Later, the dude tells us, I mean her, that a girl showed up and asked for a ride, for the next day. Again, you people are dead.
That night someone breaks in, with a camera, and caresses the wife’s butt with a switch blade…. All I’m thinking is that it’s super convenient that this person has a camera too. The person does other things, like steal the dude’s money.
The next day, he notices that his money is missing, and he blames his wife. But they let it go so they can do a bunch of…things, to tide us over until something interesting happens.
Thankfully, that happens, as that night, someone comes in and stabs the dude. It gets pretty bloody, and it’s awesome. As it turns out, this person is indeed a woman and we see her kissing the wife.
…Well okay then. They run off, and the chick asks if the wife erased the tape. End segment. I suppose it was better than the first segment, but it was also kind of dull and it, once again, didn’t get awesome until the end. But hey, maybe the next one will be better.
The next tape is put in, and we have Segment 3, titled “Tuesday the 17th” …Okay. Three friends, along with their new friend, are going on a camping trip. Well, they’re dead. They banter a bit, and I personally can tolerate than more then the guys in the first segment. Which is weird.
They walk through the woods, saying some dumb dialogue that feels like leftovers from the last segment in which we had dumb banter. Then they start to annoy me as they go on with their banter without really forwarding the plot. Unless the plot relies on this nerdy dude smoking pot for the first time. Which I doubt,
Then one guy goes swimming in the lake, and nothing of substance happens. Yawn. Then this other dude and a blond chick are killed by a mysterious figure. Oh yeah, now we’re getting somewhere!
Then Wendy, that new friend, picks up the up the camera (the camera holder was killed) and asks the lake guy to fuck. …Well, this is getting interesting. See, in a bit I skipped, Wendy said this is a place where some evil dude killed some people, and those people were here friends. She came back to move on.
Wow, this story is actually getting really interesting despite a rough start. And given the track record, the ending won’t ruin it it! …I just jinxed it.
“They never caught him. They never believed me”
She begs him to help her and the evil dude shows up and kill him. Wah wah.
She runs away and we see that the camera can’t film him, as he just shows up as weird feedback, while everything else is fine. Now that’s actually kind of creepy. Eventually, the figure is impaled by…a thing. It’s a weird trap…thingy. Don’t know how to describe it. Either way, he’s dead.
But when she turns our, the figure vanishes. Then it pops up and beats her with the camera. Okay, that’s fucking awesome. It kills her and she suddenly jerks around and the camera goes out. End Segment.
Okay that was really good. It had a shaky middle, but it some interesting parts and an awesome ending. I enjoyed that one a lot. I hope the rest of the film stays on that level!
The next tape is put in (Yes, nothing happens in the wrap around crap each time) and we get Segment 4, titled “The Sick thing that happened to Emily when She was younger”. …BEST TITLE EVER.
It starts with the titular Emily having a Video chat with her boyfriend James. She has a weird bump on her arm but that doesn’t matter as they just move on to sex talk. This involves some boob shots, and yes, We’ve had a couple so far. I just forgot to mention them until this one. Trust me, they aren’t anything special.
She takes him on a video tour of her Apartment cuz why not. She says weird things have been happening. Well, she’s dead. These things include the usual stuff, like footsteps. Suddenly, she claims to hear a weird sound right then and there.
“My apartment’s haunted”
She’s likely right, or we wouldn’t be here. …How did most of these tapes end up in that house anyway? And it just hit me that this film is a found footage movie…about people finding found footage movies.
A weird figures pops up in her room and leaves. They discuss this weird occurrence the next day.
“Maybe it was like a breeze or something”
That night, she hears another weird noise and more creepy shit happens. It’s fairly creepy so something of substance kind of happens, I guess. The next day, Emily tells James that she talked to her Landlord and he said no one ever died in her home.
“Well, that’s not something you’d want to advertise, right?”
Also, Emily has a bump on her arm and she’s digging into it to find out what it is. It’s actually kind of disgusting, in a good way. James tells her not to pick at it and she stops. That night, Emily tries to solve this mystery once and for all.
She uses her webcam to go all PA on us as she explores the house. This is all during a video chat by the way. That’s the gimmick for this one. Of course, she bumps into a creepy figure and is knocked out. I’ll say it now: This movie has some damn good shock moments, as that bit worked pretty well.
James pop up in her apartment and okay what. He was literally just there at his computer and he pops up in her place like 5 seconds? The hell? I can accept any crazy crap about to happen but that? No way.
Anyway, he opens her stomach and takes out an Alien Fetus. ….Yeah, it’s more plausible than his super speed. As it turns out, James has been working for these aliens, as they are using Emily as an incubator for Alien/Human hybrids.
“She thinks I’m in Michigan”
Oh, so there was a bigger reason for me to bitch that I missed! Either way, we don’t know where he actually he is, and even if he’s next door, he still can’t pop up in that exact place in 5 seconds.
“That tracking device in her arm..”
Oh, thanks for point blank explaining it. Before we find out anything else, we cut to the next day as Emily’s memory has been erased, and she thinks she was in a traffic accident.
“I’m just crazy”
Crap, you just got me invested in a character in this movie. How dare you?!
“You deserve to be with someone normal”
…Dang it. Knowing James is…doing that makes this…even more interesting. James says he loves her…then he switches chats to speak to another woman…who has a bump on her arm.
“Don’t do that. I’ll look at it when I get there”
End Segment. …Well, I liked that one. The concept was kind of dumb, but it was creepy and it actually had a story with a real character. Thumbs up!
Back in the Framing story, I realize I forgot to tell you that a new guy inserts each new Tape and after the tape ends, he vanishes. So little of interest happens in these parts that I kind of forgot.
One guy goes upstairs to the find the remains of another guy and he is attacked by the zombie of that dead old guy. Once again, it’s some intense stuff, even if I couldn’t care less about this random guy.
He falls down some stairs and he is killed. We cut to the VCR room as our final segment plays by itself. …That’s it? That’s our framing story? Some douchebags go into a house, watch some movies, vanish, and die? Lame!
Whatever, it’s not bad but easily the weakest story, only saved by the fact that it’s just a wrap around. Now for our final segment, called “10/31/98” which takes place…on that date, I assume.
Some dude and his friends are heading out to a Halloween party. Well…you know what his state will be like by the end of this film, by now. They arrive to find that the house is empty. We get a lot of the same crap as before, but the banter is much more tolerable in this one, at least.
They hear weird noises and one guy guys to check it out. After more banter, they got to the Attic where they find a bunch of people, chanting while standing around a woman who is suspended from the rafters.
Our…heroes, join in to look cool but just end up looking awkward as they are caught. That was pretty funny, even if it wasn’t meant to be. They get pissed, and shit goes down. Again, it’s suspenseful and kind of awesome.
However, one guy actually goes back to save the girl. Holy shit, an admirable character in this movie! Get it away!
They save her and even more shit goes down as the house comes alive with ghosts and stuff trying to get them. It’s really awesome, being, fun, intense, suspenseful, and creepy. This movie has some awesome payoffs, I’ll give it that.
And when I say the house comes alive, I mean it. Tons of shit starts floating/attacking them and it’s really awesome. They pile into the car and the chick vanishes and re-appears in front of the car, making a screamer face.
Suddenly, they realize they stopped the car on some train track as a train is coming towards them. Now this part is really suspenseful and for once, I kind of care about what happens to these characters! …Well, to an extent, anyway,
And what happens? The train hits…and the tape flickers out. Roll credits. …You know what? I’m cool with an abrupt ending, as it works for this type of movie. Besides, it hits hard enough to leave me justified. Basic ending, but it works very well.
Also, the credits refer to the weird people from the final segment as “Cult Dudes”. Heh.
I was a bit mixed at first, but overall I really enjoyed this one. However, my praise is more Subjective than Objective in the end. However, it has enough value in the end for me to appreciate.
Even the parts I bashed got better as I thought about it. Taking breaks during these reviews really do help me sort out my thoughts before it’s over. Anthology films are pretty tricky to do, since not all the segments will be to our liking, and it may be hard to enjoy the whole thing if you hate one segment.
Thankfully, this is the only type of the film where they allow you to skip the parts you don’t like, without missing anything. So it doesn’t matter in the end. Most of these segments have one thing in common: They are sort of dull, with weak banter, and then they have an amazing pay off.
Some are a tad better story wise, as such the Emily one, but most of them fall under that formula. For some, it works like the final Segment, but in others, it doesn’t. The biggest examples are the first 2 segments. I found the banter annoying and the 2nd one gets weaker the more I think about it. Actually, I can’t even remember anything outside of the fact that ending has 2 chicks kissing or something. I freaking typed a review of it like a day ago and I don’t remember it. Ouch.
I think these segments should have tried harder to make you interested BEFORE the crap goes down. The only one to do that is the Emily one, since the set up had me interested. Even my favorite Segment, the last one, had a slow start.
But honestly, each Segment, except maybe the 2nd one, and the framing one, had something awesome for me. This movie really goes all it when it needs to. It can be entertaning, suspenseful, and creepy, all at the same time. When it hits hard, it hits hard and it’s AWESOME.
The problem is that they needed better writers to make things more interesting. Each segment can be summed up as “Bunch of people who banter a lot bump into it weird shit”. Only the Emily one doesn’t really fall into this, and that’s hwy I liked it, despite the dumb premise.
I suppose I shall rank the segments in order of how much I personally enjoyed them.
6. Tape 56. This is the framing story, and it’s just not interesting at all. Even when things go down, nothing happens it’s really boring. And even kind of annoying. Not horrible, just nothing special.
5. Second Honeymoon. Anther boring one, but I enjoyed the ending, I guess. It just didn’t have anything interesting, to make it memorable. That’s why I like it less than I suggested back up there.
4. Amuter Night. I love the ending, but I can’t bring myself to care about/remember the rest. Still enjoyable despite a rough start.
3. Tuesday the 17th. A bit dull in places, but I enjoyed some of the banter and the ending was balls out awesome, with some creative things and even interesting bits in the story.
2. The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily when She was Younger. Yeah, the pay offi ns’t quite as awesome, but the writing was a lot stronger here, with some nice bits with Emily herself. Interchangeable with Tuesday but I appreciated it more.
1. 10/31/98. Yeah, the least interesting start but the ending went balls out and I loved every minute of it. Easily the most enjoyable segment.
So overall, I’ll give it a lower score than I want to, but it has too many flaws for me to like more. It’s very enjoyable, intense, and creepy but it’s also dull, forgettable, and just…weak. But the good parts make it worth it.
The found Footage aspect worked very well, making things creepy, but it didn’t really need to be like this. One of the better Found Footage films I’ve seen, but it could have been a real movie in some places.
So if you like Found Footage films more often than not, and you like what I’m saying, than you’ll enjoy it. Just pay attention to my criticisms. It’s very enjoyable, but very flawed.
Now I’m curious about how the sequel is. …You know what? Let’s find out next time. I don’t usually do this, but screw it. I wanna see it, so next time, we tackle V/H/S 2: The Rise of DVD!