Saw it tonight and loved it! V/H/S is one of the best found-footage horror films I have seen, if not the best. It’s a very creative and fun anthology film. There’s not a weak story in the bunch. It is pretty long too, it was going on 2:30AM by the time the movie got out. It gives each story a chance to fully develop.
The opening scenes are really obnoxious, it is basically just these guys running around smashing stuff. Even though the movie starts out pretty rough, stay with it. I was hooked by the end of the first story.
I’m going to go into a little detail as to what each of the segments are about, but I’ll avoid any spoilers. I have no idea who directed what.
The wrap-around segment involves a group of men who are being paid to break into a house and steal a VHS tape. Once inside, they find the dead body of an elderly man surrounded by numerous tapes. Each time they plug a tape in, it jumps to one of the segments. This was my least favorite of the segments. It gets off to a very rough start, but it does end extremely well.
The first segment is about three friends who get more than they bargained for when they try to lure a girl back to their hotel room in order to videotape her without her knowledge. This is by far the most extreme of the segments in regards to both violence and sex. Like the wraparound, it starts out a little rough, but about halfway through it grabs you by the throat. Definitely one of the stand-outs!
The second segment also takes place primarily in a hotel room. This one follows a couple on vacation, who notice a strange girl lurking outside their motel room. This one is kind of like The Strangers in a motel. I’m guessing this is the one Joe Swanberg directed, as he stars in it as well.
The third segment is a backwoods slasher. Four friends go into the woods and… we’ll just leave it at that. Fun segment, but not my favorite (which is surprising, because I’m all about the backwoods slashers). I really liked the characters in this one.
The fourth segment seemed to be the audience favorite, because it definitely got the most crowd reaction. This one is filmed entirely via Skype, where a boyfriend talks to his girlfriend as she experiences paranormal activity in her apartment. Very strange twist in this one, I wasn’t sure what to think about it. But it definitely has some very effective scares. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that a Skype conversation would be recorded onto a VHS tape, but this is easily overlooked for the sake of entertainment.
The fifth and final segment was my personal favorite. Four friends head to a Halloween party at a creepy old mansion, but when they get there they find the house seemingly vacant. Are the strange occurrences in the house a Halloween prank, or is there something in the house with them? Very playful and fun segment, I really enjoyed it!
Overall, the movie does a really good job toying with the experimental nature of the found-footage genre. Nowadays, computer effects really take away some of that movie magic, but there are a lot of effects here that look so convincingly practical that I was wondering how they did it. It is extremely impressive, especially combined with the long takes. Even though you’ll catch occasional shades of other films in V/H/S, its creativity and originality makes this essential viewing for all horror fans.