V/H/S (2012)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

The acting on some segments was surprisingly good, some clever sequences

Many stories had too much lead in, too much shakey camera footage

Movie Info

Movie Name:  V/H/S

Studio:  Bloody Disgusting

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  January 22, 2012 (Sundance)/October 5, 2012 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


“Amateur Night”–You’ve got a little something on your face there…

A group of vandals who enjoy taping their work are hired to break into a house and steal a VHS tape.  Discovering the body of a man in the house, the group begins to search for the tape.  The VHS tapes they find hold tales of horror, fear, and death…and are they the next victims?

V/H/S was an anthology movie centered around a central story.  It was directed by a number of directors Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and the group called Radio Silence.  The movie received average to positive reviews and made the festival tour.

There are things I like about V/H/S, and things I did not like about the movie.  I love anthology films and this was one of the first “found-footage” anthologies I’ve seen which is kind of surprising.  Like a “fictitious” Faces of Death combined with Tales from the Crypt the stories ranged from pretty good to so-so.  None of the stories were out and out awful, but some of their pacing was too long for not enough payout…but dust off the VHS and enjoy.

"Second Honeymoon"...someone watched Alice, Sweet Alice one too many times...

“Second Honeymoon”…someone watched Alice, Sweet Alice one too many times…

The bracketing film of the movie is quite obnoxious with obnoxious characters.  Tagged “Tape 56” it is directed by Adam Wingard.  This story pops up throughout the airing of the other stories, but doesn’t really have much payoff.  With some of the shakiest camera moments of all the stories, it is also difficult to watch if you get irritated by shots like that.

The first “tape” is a story named “Amateur Night” which is directed by David Bruckner and probably the best of the series.  It has a creepy whispering girl as one of a pair of girls picked up by three guys out to film a good time.  With more of a reason to be shooting, the found footage seems a bit more plausible and the creature in the film is quite creepy.

Ti West directs “Second Honeymoon” which involves a rather boring couple travelling out west and what appears to be a strange girl following them.  The ending was ok, but once again, there wasn’t enough pay off.  Most of the stories in this film are pretty bloody and not in a Tales from the Crypt style of blood.  I would almost classify this as the “funny one” of the anthology, but the movie doesn’t really have a “funny one”.


“Tuesday the 17th”–You’re looking totally staticy, girl!

“Tuesday the 17th” is directed by Glenn McQuaid and probably my least favorite of the stories.  It is a typical horror movie set-up with a group of kids headed into the woods where it turns out one of them had been attacked by a killer she can’t remember.  The style of the killer is revealed not to show up on tape (it is kind of unclear if in real life he can be seen), but she proceeds to try to fight him by sacrificing her friends and dying.  It just never reached any level of fear that a slasher movie can reach especially since it had potential with creepy camera sounds that almost warned of the killer’s approach.

“The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” has the best title and is directed by Joe Swanberg.  The story involves a series of video chats and a girl who feels her house is haunted.  This also almost classifies as a “funny one” with the punch line being that the guy is working with aliens to collect fetus from women.  This I guess would classify as the “sci-fi” based story that generally is found in an anthology.


“The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger”–Why do they keep attacking Britney?!?!

“10/31/98” is directed by Joe Swanberg and also borders being funny.  Once again, however, there is too much set up and not enough horror.  The story involves a group headed to a Halloween party (I do like the nanny-cam costume that necessitates the camera) and accidentally stumbling upon an exorcism when they get the wrong house.  There are some neat effects with the hands in the walls, but the story is hurt by having this take too long to happen.

I wish I liked V/H/S just a little more because there were things to make it better.  The movie is right on the verge of being something that really works.  Acting-wise, I felt that a lot of the people did a pretty decent job being “real” and wish they had a bit better material to work with.  V/H/S made enough of a splash that a sequel V/H/S/2 (originally titled S-VHS) which came out in 2013 at Sundance.

Related Links:

V/H/S/2 (2013)

V/H/S:  Viral (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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