Review: V/H/S Anthology Series

I am not talking about the video format before DVD, no not at all.  This is a review for a first film that may crack the Horror Syndicate Top 100 Films for this year.  The V/H/S films are two of my favorite horror sub-genre’s, I take that back, found footage is getting kind of old.  I do love anthology films, stories or whatever.  The film is set up as a found footage film and it is all put together in a horror anthology as I said, which is good.  Only a few segments could make it as a full length feature.  These are a very cool movies and I think each film gets better with each segment.  So that is how I will review the film, by segment, all three movies.

Before I begin, I want to just say this film caught my attention as a trailer on some DVD I watched last month.  I found it for less than 6 bucks and could not pass on the film.  I was not disappointed at all.  But you will see that in the Tape 56 and Amateur Night reviews it started to disappoint me.

V/H/S (2012)

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Tape 56

Directed by Adam Wingard

This is the purpose of the film, you know in every anthology film there is a story that brings all of them together, this is it, the wrap around.  It is about a group of idiot friends who run around trashing abandon houses, stealing, harassing people and then the main objective to find a tape in this house with a dead man, who is sitting dead before a bunch of televisions.

I do not like this segment, the guys are idiots and I did not like them at all, but I do like the point of the story.  But, it works.

Amateur Night

Directed by David Bruckner

V/H/SAgain, this starts out, stupid, but sit through the segment.  It begins with three friends trying to film an amateur porno with a guy who is wearing a pair of glasses that has a hidden camera.  They go clubbing to find a couple of girls.  These turds are able to find a couple of girls to come with them.  One of the girls is acting strange.  They get back to the hotel and things happen and this is when the film picks up and gets really good.

The segment gets redeemed by a horrifing ending.  Overall it was just ok.

Second Honeymoon

Directed by Ti West

I have become a fan of Ti West’s work, the Sacrament and The House of the Devil are terrific films.  This of course one of the best segments of the first film.  A man and wife take a trip to get away and to try and reignite their flame of love.  It does not work, things go down.  They are being stalked by another person while way.

CLASSIC Ti West film, it is only around 20 minutes and it is a slow burn with a great build up.  Just when you get comfortable, you get kicked in the throat.  Thank you Ti West.

Tuesday the 17th

Directed by Glenn McQuaid

This was very cool, a group of friends go camping with a new friend.  The new friend occasionally mentioning “accidents” that took the lives of her friends.  At one point she mentions they are all going to die.  When the killing does happen, the killer can only be seen by the camera in this really cool interference.

It is a really cool and kind of a fresh idea.  As I said, this is a cool idea and fresh.  I feel like this one could possibly work as a full length feature.

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

Directed by Joe Swanberg

This couple lives in different states and they chat on the computer to stay in contact.  When she begins to see things in her apartment, she believes it is haunted.  She gets online and talks to him and he can see things happen in her apartment.  It is so eerie and creepy, this one really worked for me.

This one was super creepy and gave me the chills a few times.  This segment had a great haunting type flavor and this may be the best segment, I know I said that about the Ti West, but this one actually scared me a little.

10/31/98

Written and directed by Radio Silence

Four friends a going to a Halloween party at a friends house, they dress in silly costumes and the way this was filmed, one of the friends dresses as a nanny cam, dressed as a bear with a camera.  They end up going to the wrong house and look around at the empty house until they get upstairs.

Another good segment, at first it feels like a couple of douches causing problems, but these guys seem to be good guys.  The end is really creepy.

I suggest this to anyone who loves horror film and is sick of the same old crap produced by Hollywood.  I enjoyed this and it really made me feel good about low budget horror.  Again I can only thank Ti West, by seeing House of the Devil last year, I really trust him now and will watch anything he is apart of.  If your a true horror fan, go, go ahead and watch this one.

IMDB.com rates V/H/S at 5.8,

I rate it at 7.6 overall, I enjoyed the first one.

V/H/S 2 (2013)

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So V/H/S 2 is the sequel to a found footage horror anthology that caught my attention earlier this year.  I really enjoyed the first film.  I really did enjoy and I recommend the film.

I feel the same about this one, only I think I do prefer the original.  Of course each film is broken into four different stories and are connected by another.  Here is what I thought of each one.

Tape 49/frame narrative

Directed by Simon Barrett

This was the intro and followed each story, it was interesting, they had to find a way or a reason why these VHS tapes are being viewed, so these two private investigators take to a case and find a house with a bunch of tapes and the female watches each tape.

This was a little interesting, ended pretty cool.  I did like this better than Tape 56 from the first film.

Phase I Clinical Trials

Directed by Adam Wingard

This may have been my favorite of the bunch, a man has an eye transplant and it is a camera eye.  The doctor told him it may glitch out once and a while and he would see a white line.  Well it does, but he sees something else.

I loved this idea, it was very cool, the only thing I had trouble with was the camera was a first person shot, hard for me to watch.

A Ride in the Park

Directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale

The directors of this short are better known for the Blair Witch Project, but this was really great and honestly I would love to see more of this story.  But since it is found footage it would not make sense.   The story is about a guy going on a bike right in the woods on a trail and he has a camera fixed to his helmet.  He sees a woman in just off the trail and she is puking and he stops to help.  This turns out to be a zombie story and if you ask me well done.

Safe Haven

Directed by Gareth Huw Evans and Timo Tjahjanto

vhs2-horror-film2This was by far the most disturbing of all the shorts, it is about a religious cult that the head of the cult has been accused of being sexual with the children.  Then some alarms go off and shit gets real, real messed up.  You have people offing themselves, what seems to be zombies and a birth of a demon.  It is so messed up, you have to just see it.  Critics say this was the best, it may be, not my favorite, but it is the most messed up.  All hell literally breaks loose.  This was well done.

Slumber Party Alien Abduction

Directed by Jason Eisener

This is the weakest of the shorts, I am not sure why this was the last video in the bunch, it should have finished with Safe Haven.  This was about a bunch of fourteen year olds pranking an older sister and her boyfriend, the being attacked by aliens and chased and a dog dies.  The film was shot from the dogs perspective as the camera was mounted to its back.  This short did nothing for me.

Overall the film is good, like I said, it ended on a weak note, well I guess not considering the end was the last part of Tape 49.  I say check this one out if you have the chance, it is fun and if you haven’t check out the first one too.

IMDB.com rates V/H/S 2 at 6.1

I rate it at 7.0 overall.

V/H/S Viral (2014)

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I have been a fan of the V/H/S series to this point and I was excited about a new film.  I was not a fan of the name with Viral attached.  Just by calling it Viral, it made me feel like the series was taking a huge jump forward from actual V/H/S tapes.  The first film started with a bunch of guys breaking into a house and finding these TVs set up and one guy had to watch these tapes.  It was cool and the wrap around segment was really creepy.

The second just, hit you in the gut over and over.  Really felt like it held nothing back.  So the series really did feel like it going in the right direction, now V/H/S Viral.

V/H/S Viral is broken up into four segments a wrap around segment and 3 middle parts.  Usually after each segment it would go back to the wrap around.

There was a segment taken out of the film that did not fit the format.  It is in on the DVD after the credit and it certainly did not fit.  The V/H/S films are all basically found footage films and the removed segment was not found footage.  It is called Gorgeous Vortex and it is very bizarre and honestly not good, it is not found footage and there is no dialog, just some images that should be disturbing.  It seemed like they tried too hard to be strange.  I did not care for it and it did not fit at all.  I think it could be fleshed out into a full length movie, if they would have added dialog and a story.

Vicious Circles

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento

This started out with a guy and a girl talking on a bridge and it followed different parts of their life.  Eventually there was a police chase with a Ice Cream truck and they go outside to film and the girl disappears.  Then the first segment starts and it would go back to Vicious Circles and most of the time it is the guy riding a bike trying to catch up to the action.

The most annoying thing about this, the time would suggest a more current time, but the camera glitched out a bunch and to me it did not make sense, the HD cameras do not have issues like this, if they did, take that shit back.  I know it was for the effect, but there was no reason of the glitches.

The end game was not great and worth the journey from the beginning.  So this was not good.

Dante the Great

Directed by Gregg Bishop

This one was about a trailer park illusionist who does card tricks and everyone teases.  He finds a magic cloak and becomes everything he wants, but there is a price.  A bunch of his assistance end up missing and he is arrested.

The good thing about this segment cool effects, the one thing the footage that is filmed, some of it does not make too much sense.  This was another situation, it could be a cool solo film, that is not found footage.  But it does not deliver at all.

Parallel Monsters

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo

Interesting story on this one, a man builds a doorway to a parallel dimension.  When he opens the door, he finds himself on the other side, but it is reversed.  The decide to go in for 15 minutes to see what is different.  That is when everything goes, strange.  That is the best way to describe it without giving it away.

This one is pretty interesting and it could fit in with the other two films.  It is strange and the camera work makes sense for the story.  Not too bad and possibly the best segment on this V/H/S.

Bonestorm

Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead

VHSVIRALSKATERSThis is by far the most gruesome of all of the other segments.  It is about these punk skater kids who go down to Mexico, they by fireworks and find a place to skate.  While they skate this, bizarre witch looking lady comes out of nowhere, she rips one of the guys arms off.  Then a bunch of people in ponchos attack the skaters and all hell breaks lose.  It is insane and gruesome.

This segment isn’t too bad, along with Parallel Monsters, help make the movie worth watching, somewhat.

V/H/S Viral really is the worst of the bunch and I was not too happy with it.  It is the weekest of the three and the thing about these films, it gets new film makers a shot to make a cool horror short.  But I think if another is to be made, bring back some of the best from the first 3 films.

This is just my idea and have a couple of other segments with newbs.  Could go for a two hour film and it could work.  Will not happen but it is fun to think about.  Magnet releases are great and I look forward to more to come.

IMDB.com rates V/H/S Viral at 4.2, yeah it is weak.

I give it a 5.3 overall.

All three films are sitting on Netflix waiting for you if you have not watched them.  I recommend each, even if Viral is the…worst.

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About Ray Marek III 244 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.