Entertainment » Movies


by Louise Adams
Tuesday Dec 4, 2012

"V/H/S" is a horror grab-bag wrapped around the premise of retrieving a mysterious old-school video tape.

For you young whippersnappers, VHS cassettes were those chunky magnetic analog tapes, where you had to "be kind and rewind" to watch them again, without even a remote. Back in the day, the smaller Betamax tapes provided sharper, more long-lasting images, yet that technology mysteriously disappeared with the rise of the lower quality "Video Home System."

Similarly, "V/H/S" is a series of low-rent vignettes of young whippersnappers with a predictable penchant for nubile tits, some prerequisite drugs and an overabundance of bloody knife slashing.

In fact, the five different directors didn't seem to have had production meetings to differentiate or integrate their scripts. The most successful outing is David Bruckner's "Amateur Night," which allows a gang-banged girl to get her just desserts, and to mete out justice in, and above, the hotel. This creepy-eyed "I like you" young lady gets to do to her aggressor what many sexually-threatened women have fantasized about.

Ti West's "Second Honeymoon" is a clever and gory switcheroo, highlighted by everybody's favorite toothbrush-in-the-toilet prank.

"Tuesday the 17th" makes the least sense, and is deeply enamored with trails of entrails and headache-inducing tape glitches. Laptop Skype-ing in "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" drops the taping tech level even lower, and "10/31/98" wraps up the explorations of female subjugation.

The shaky-cam styles throughout "V/H/S" - appropriated from genre grandmamma "The Blair Witch Project," plus "Cloverfield" and "Paranormal Activity," more successful low-budget horror movies - can be rather nauseating, both visually and aurally. In this pastiche, it appears that V/H/S means "Very Hard to Stomach."


Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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