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Shaun vs. V/H/S (2012)

vhs1Directed by David Bruckner, Ti West, Adam Winguard and many more

Starring Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley and many more

A trio of burglars who like to record their exploits are hired to break into an hold house and steal a rare VHS tape.  Once inside the house, they find several tapes and find that each one has a horrific surprise in store.



This collection is killer.

The film starts off with a gang of dirt bags who like to film themselves breaking into abandoned houses to trash them or sexually assault women in parking lots.  They are offered a handsome sum of money to break into someone’s out and steal a VHS tape.  Figuring on easy money, they accept and break into the house though it’s not at all what they expect.  They discover an old man sitting dead in a chair in a room with multiple television sets and VCRs.  The gang look through the house for a particular tape while one of them pops a tape into a machine to see what’s on it.  Each gang member eventually goes on to watch their own video and it’s not good for any of them.

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I think it’s best we see other people.

Amateur Night – A group of drunk students from a college fraternity set up one of their guys, Clint, with a pair of glasses with a camera in it… so they can record themselves being cool at a party?  They hook up with a group of drunk party chicks, among them one girl who’s mostly silent but seems to have a thing for Clint.  She latches on to Clint while they hop into a car and head off to someone’s apartment where things start to get sexy.  At least it should have until this woman reveals herself to be some sort of demonic creature and eviscerates everyone around her when things get too rapey.

There’s an air of uneasiness at the start of the film just because I’m not sure what to expect.  That’s probably the idea because this film got nuts very quickly and despite the amount of blood shown on screen I was surprised at the little bit of emotion that was thrown in towards the end.   A solid start to the anthology.

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Second Honeymoon  – Sam and Stephanie are a couple are out on a second honeymoon to rekindle that old flame they once had.  While visiting an attraction, she gets her fortune told from a machine that tells her that she will be reunited with a loved one.  As the vacation goes on, a woman starts following Sam and Steph and may be the person that broke into their motel room while they slept and did many unsavoury acts while using Sam’s video camera.  Sam is rattled when he discovers money taken from his now empty wallet and accuses Stephanie of taking it.  Sam’s night doesn’t end well when Stephanie’s fortune winds up coming true.

This one is a lot more straight forward and while it’s not terrible I found it surprisingly dull — aside from a few brief moments of tension — and it ends abruptly with a twist that’s not very surprising.  It’s not that it’s terrible, it’s just that a Hitchcockian short is out of place with the rest of the films here.

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That’s an interesting angle.

Tuesday the 17th – Wendy brings some new friends along for a camping trip to a nearby lake.  It turns out she survived a massacre at the camp the previous year though all her friends were slaughtered.  She is back to use her “friends” as bait to bring the killer out of hiding and kill him.  That proves to be surprisingly impossible due to the fact that the killer cannot be seen unless viewed through a video camera, though he/she can only be seen as glitched out pixels on screen.  What can be seen are the gruesome kills since the Glitch has a penchant for stabbing people in the head.  The killer mows through everyone quickly until it’s just him and the final girl.

I’m starting to notice that each film presents a different genre and this is the film that condenses a ninety-minute slasher flick (or even better, a sequel to a slasher flick) into just fifteen minutes.  The cast is established quickly, there’s a motive behind the trip, the killer shows up to murder people in excessively gory ways like you’d expect and the final confrontation is wrapped up with a nice little bow.

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The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger – Emily video chats with her doctor boyfriend from her new apartment about a strange lump on her arm as it’s bothering her.  Suddenly, a small ghost-like entity scares the hell out of Emily leading her to believe that her apartment is haunted.  Her boyfriend tries to keep her calm but she is losing her cool over the supernatural events going on and she keeps digging into the lump in her arm as she becomes more paranoid.  The entity is revealed to be more extraterrestrial in nature but whatever it is, it wants Emily.

I was really on the fence about this one.  I really enjoyed this short up until the end when the supernatural element was switched out to make room for aliens, which is pretty out there.  Aliens aren’t scary to me, but that’s a matter of personal preference, otherwise this was a pretty good film.

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10/31/98 – A group of shitbag teenagers who have a camera installed in one of their costumes, head out to a party but wind up going to the wrong house.  Once inside they hear noises upstairs and discover a girl tied up surrounded by men as they perform what may be a sacrifice.  Realizing they’re in the wrong place, the boys bolt but return quickly to save the girl from her captors.  The house comes alive with supernatural activity as arms try to reach out from the walls to grab anyone that gets in their grasp.  The boys get the girl out only to find out they interrupted an exorcism and they just helped something get out.

Ah, here’s the one to satiate by supernatural desires where the last one let me down.  I really wished this were a bit longer, especially towards the end, but I’ll take what I can get and this one was really good.

I enjoyed the concept of V/H/S and appreciated that each individual film represents distinctly different genres even though they share the same found footage camera style.  While some shorts are better than others, nothing is outright awful and it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it (and can stand shaky cam!)

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That’s an odd place for a coat rack…

TL;DR

Story: 8 – The wraparound story is clunky but there’s a wide variety of themes to enjoy throughout the overall film.

Blood: 9 – Amateur Night and Tuesday the 17th are definitely the bloodiest of the bunch with the first short providing a blood thirsty demon clawing and tearing people apart while the third short wears its slasher badge proudly as a pissed off killer quickly dispatches victims via head stabbing and/or evisceration.  The second and fourth shorts contain a decent amount of blood for what they need to offer and the final short is relatively bloodless.

Nudity: 7 – Hannah Fierman as a sexed up demon was pretty nice to see in the first short.  Not much for the rest of the movie, I’m afraid.

Overall: 7 – Each flick is certainly fine on their own but as a whole, V/H/S is an uneven package that might be enjoyed more by genre diehards than those who don’t like to stray from their comfort zone.

Trivia

-The short entitled “Amateur Night” was later turned into a full-length film called Siren.

Amateur Night‘s director, David Bruckner, is currently attached to the next film in the Friday the 13th series.

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