V/H/S (2012)

Amateur film stars. / Their last moments caught on tape. / Dead like Blockbuster.

We love old tapes, especially if their musty reels contain horror movies. We also tend to love found-footage horror movies (à la The Blair Witch Project, REC, and Paranormal Activity. Let’s just ignore The Devil Inside for argument’s sake, okay?). So, when we heard about V/H/S (2012), a found-footage anthology horror movie by a bunch of up-and-coming horror directors, we were pretty excited.

Featuring stories by David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg , Adam Wingard, Ti West, and the group Radio Silence, the film is held together by footage of a group of seriously TERRIBLE douchebags, who, in order to make some money, go into a house to retrieve a mysterious and valuable VHS tape. What they find is a house filled with creepy and disgusting videos, each one filmed by a different person. While most of the directors we had never heard of before (besides Glenn McQuaid, I Sell the Dead), our initial interest was due to the involvement of Ti West. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, stop what you’re doing and watch The Roost, The House of the Devil, and The Innkeepers right now! His movies are by turns charming and terrifying, and we just gobble up anything that has his name on it. So, obviously, we went right out and legally viewed this awesome movie which deserves your money via VOD (August 5) and theatres (October 5).

West’s chapter of V/H/S (“Second Honeymoon”) did not let us down, and the rest of the shorts more than rose to the occasion as well. West also provided the connective tissue of the film — the overarching story of the douchebags — which was notably weaker than the rest. The scumbags aren’t likable enough to root for, and too stupid to sympathize with, as they repeatedly make decisions that show below average intelligence. When we’re talking “below average intelligence” for a horror movie victim, it’s a pretty low bar.

Still, there’s something here for horror fans of all stripes: ghosts, demons, murderers, hot vampiric ladies, aliens, poltergeists — you name it. It also gave us a bunch of new directors to be on the lookout for in the future. Like most horror films, it’s best to scream along while watching with a few friends, and be prepared to have a hard time falling asleep afterwards.