“It feels like it’s been a long time since I went to the Kendall. I know it’s at least 3 1/2 weeks because I managed to avoid hobbling over on crutches. (Sidebar: my knee is “”completely trashed””, but I can at least ditch the crutches while waiting for the procedure to be scheduled). Something about seeing a movie scheduled as 1 week only (even though the last couple I raced to stayed open for longer) really makes me hafta go see it. This time it was V/H/S. Yeah I’ve really been going all out with the October horror fest this year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the genre has changed over time. You’ve gone from spooky monsters to slasher films to torture porn. Right now the trend seems to be disturbing, messed up, and bloody as hell. Plus there’s the whole found footage thing. V/H/S definitely is keeping up with the times. A bit more amateur, but a lot of potential. The fun with this flick is that it’s a bit of an anthology.

I really liked the anthology idea, which is prolly what most intrigued me, even if the unifying story is a bit flawed. You’ve got a group of ne’er-do-wells who are hired to steal a tape from an old guy’s house. Problem is when they get there they find a whole bunch of tapes and hafta watch thru ’em all in order to find the one they’re looking for. Oh and they get there to discover the old guy is dead. His body occupies the La-Z-Boy in the screening room. I’ll leave the plot of the shorts secret, since that was half of the fun, but they did seem to cover a pretty good range of the horror spectrum.

What was cool was that these were all supposedly on tapes. That meant the team behind each story (including the main storyline) could play with a lot of low tech “”side effects””: bits of previously recorded occurrences coming thru, tracking issues, etc. Each short was completely different, with the same underlying setup of unsuspecting victim(s) being thrown into a scary situation. Some were better than others. My fave overall was prolly the fourth story. It found the right balance of set up and action. The way this one was filmed (or at least the set up for it) had much steadier cameras than the others, which I very much appreciated. If we’re just focusing on the storyline, then I think I liked the first short best. It’s flaw was that it took a really long time to set up, and our leading players missed some \m/ huge red flags that led to their doom.

While I was rather spooked (the more horror I watch, the jumpier I’ve been getting), I wasn’t necessarily enthralled. The problem with 6 different stories (including the set up story) is that you need to go thru exposition 6 times. It can get frustrating if each segment takes its sweet time doing that. Five films within a film is prolly about the right number, esp for the length they were, but I’d been expecting more, shorter ones. The intro had a bunch of overlapping small scenes, which was more along the lines of what I was expecting. That’s probably what also made the longer stories feel like they were dragging. Next, I like the idea behind found footage, and it works well for horror to add some believability and as a way of hiding some of the action (I’m a firm believer that the scariest scenes are the ones that show you the least of what’s going on). But as someone who wants to know what’s going on, I tend to find that frustrating.

Again, a lot of potential, just not quite there. I feel like the teams behind each film have a good grip on horror. They just have to work on their story skills a bit.

V/H/S – \m/ \m/ \n

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