In this installment of ForsakenFilmReviews, I look at the American horror anthology V/H/S. This 2012 film contains five segments with a wraparound story designed to tie these individual segments together. Though some of the stories were genuinely intriguing and suspenseful, the overall movie itself seemed very disjointed.
As with many anthologies, pacing is vital to the success of the film. The frame narrative of this film (“Tape 56”) ultimately failed to interest me. So with each new segment, my interest level completely started from the beginning, instead of building excitement and momentum from the previous segments. It’s a shame too, because like I mentioned before, I truly liked some of the segments. Possible spoilers from this point on.
The first segment, called “Amateur Night”, captivated me for example. Hannah Fierman’s eyes were amazing! They instantly drew me into the scene. I even ended up rooted for Lily, because the boys were simply rotten guys. This story reminded me of all those unhealthy relationships I saw during my college years.
I liked the next story as well. “Second Honeymoon” was extremely predictable, but suspenseful. That said, I still didn’t quite understand the motivation of the killer and the wife. I suppose crazy is crazy, right? Along those lines, I suppose I didn’t quite understand Wendy’s actions in the next story (called “Tuesday the 17th”). The special effects and makeup on the piece were cool and the idea of “The Glitch” was very clever. But I probably would have enjoyed it more as a short story instead of a short film, because I would have liked to explore Wendy’s internal thoughts more.
The fourth segment, called “The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily when She Was Younger” was my favorite story of the film. The beginning of the story had the right combination of suspense, chemistry, and mystery. If the ending had just been a little different, I would have said it would be a perfect story for me. But of course, I can’t be that lucky, can I?
The final segment (not counting the wrapper story) is called, “10/31/98”. It was a nice Halloween segment which I wish would have gone a different direction as well. It was very predictable and felt very much like the video game demo. Good thing I was playing the movie from my 360, because I kept expecting a Round 2 with a Level Boss fight.
V/H/S had great stories and some truly creative ideas. The whole VHS tape idea was a bit far-fetched though. I mean, many of the segments were clearly recorded on devices that were too small for the format and there were digital glitches as opposed to the tracking lines that you would normally expect to see. Granted, the title does not actually say VHS, but the tapes that the “Tape 56” crew were watching were of that style, so that is my expectation.
I’m also not a fan of found footage films. The way the camera shakes and pans around bothers me. It’s like trying to watch a Michael Bay action sequence without explosions. At one point, this film had more jump cuts than a Kit Kat commercial. Yikes!
My final score for this movie is 2.5 out of 5. It was okay to watch once, but it’s not quite a repeat viewing for me.