Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Allan Brown4
Movie Review: VHS (2013)
Directors: Matt Bettinelli, David Bruckner,Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Adam Wingard
Cast: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard
Plot: America’s ‘top’ genre filmmakers come together in an attempt to splice a series of found footage horror shorts into one arching storyline.
When horror shocker ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ popularized the world of found-footage back in 1999, it opened the floodgates for would-be filmmakers all over the world, allowing almost anyone with a camcorder to give this newly appointed sub-genre a shot. The Blair Witch Project’s planning; back story and online marketing campaign was extremely slick in execution. The filmmakers took all of the would-be negatives, including its tiny budget of $60,000 and turned them into positives. The result was a truly realistic and fresh approach to the horror genre that shocked the world whilst making $248,300,000 worldwide in the process.
Many horror movies have tried to recapture the 1999 runaway success of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ but few have had success. Putting aside ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Lake Mungo’ there are few gems among the mountains of found footage horror movies out there. So how does ‘VHS’ compare?
Unfortunately ‘VHS’ is no exception to the rule and in some respects the worst example yet.
‘V/H/S‘ is essentially an anthology of five short horror films that follows one over-arching storyline. We watch as a band of criminal misfits break into a house in an attempt to locate a VHS tape they have been sent for. Upon entering the property they are faced with a succession of unforeseen circumstances and are forced to sit through a series of tapes in an attempt to find theirs (even though they have no idea what they’re looking for).
What they are faced with is our ‘Horror Anthology’ five cryptic, disturbing and horrifying tapes each stranger (and more incoherent) than the last.
What we are presented with is 113 minutes of incoherent, plot-less, self indulgent nonsense that equates to nothing more than a high school film project. Not one of the five shorts gives anything fresh or imaginative throughout its duration. The acting (if you can call that) is below sub-par but what is worse is the script. Not one of the characters is developed enough for us to feel anything for. Live, Die…… roll on the next tape. This formula or lack off one comes across as tacky, underdeveloped, un-natural, predictable and highly amateurish.
The worn-out promotion and plug for the movie suggested people were fainting, vomiting and running horrified from the cinema (most likely from the heresy too acting and filmmaking presented on screen). This of course is just another tired formula that is used for almost every horror film released these days, and another shameless attempt by the studios to promote their film and get bums on seats. You would think we would be wise to it by now.
Summary: VHS attempts to gel five shorts horror films into one coherent narrative but sadly fails in all efforts across the board. The acting is terrible, the script feels like it was at the bottom of the priority list in development and the plot-less endeavours the film ‘explores’ leave you asking two questions: 1. How did this monstrosity ever see the light of day? 2. Can I have my money back?