Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Chills: V/H/S

V/H/S (2012)
Various directors, writers, and actors.

First Blood
V/H/S does something very few movies have the guts to do.  It does not give you all the answers.  This flick is a collection of 5 "found film" horror vignettes, set in a wrap around with it's own horrific twist.  These are basically exploitation flicks done in the modern day, highly sexually charged, lots of prurient flesh peddling, and then violent, often gruesome death to follow.  There are some genuinely scary moments and I enjoyed it immensely  but it is not for everyone.

8/10.  Pacing is just about perfect, acting better than you would expect, some stand out performances especially in the physical acting, nice takes on traditional subject matter, and monsters that actually act like monsters.

The Meat

We are all a little tired of found footage movies.  The Blair Witch Projects success has doomed us to decades of the format, but that doesn't mean it can't be done well.  In a longer film it is necessary to have at least one character you can relate to, one person who is likable enough to watch for two hours of your life.  In a series of vignettes like this no such requirement exists and so the characters can be as petty, unlikable and disgusting as the creators prefer.  It also means there is no requirement to let anyone live at the end, and no survivor coming to some kind of understanding of the horror they just experience.  These short films capitalize on that to focus on the horror, not the humanity, of these pieces.

On a personal note, I love the concept of the wraparound.  These thugs get hired to break into an old man's house and steal a VHS tape, only to find the dude dead and rotting in a chair in front of a pile of VHS tapes. What I love is the idea of going through these unlabeled tapes and watching forbidden, private things.  I can relate to the concept, sitting in the dark, fast forwarding around the tape to see if anything juicy is on it, only to find shocking, horrific stories you hope are fake.

My favorite piece is probably Second Honeymoon, which is by far the slowest, but has a cruelty to it that is refreshing.  I know, I have problems, trust me I know.  These shorts include a haunted house ghost story, a vampire/harpy monster, a supernatural slasher flick in the vein of Halloween, and one piece that left me literally, verbally asking what the fuck just happened, several times before just accepting that it was one of the more disturbing things I had watched.

The movie is currently Video on Demand in many markets and will have a limited theatrical release this week, October 5.

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