Found footage has been called many things over the last few years – tired, unoriginal, repetitive being just a few. So what better to spark a bit of life into the style than an anthology of found footage films?
A group of young thieves, more suited to the odd bout of vandalism, are approached by an unknown employer to break into a old man’s house and steal a VHS tape. Wanting the extra cash, they accept the task and easily break in, but after an initial surprise they notice that finding the tape is harder than they first thought because there’s hundreds all around the house. But as they begin to watch them one-by-one it becomes pretty clear that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
This really is a horror fans wet dream, as it mashes up all the major sub genres perfectly and presents them in a cool new and effective way. You’ve got a monster movie, slasher, possession, haunted house – basically a bit of everything so that there’s always something there for the hardened horror fan to enjoy. The fact that each episode has a clear focus of which sub-genre it is homaging shows real intelligence by each filmmaker, something that you don’t normally associate with this style of filmmaking. How they manage to incorporate the story into the found footage format is hugely impressive and reveals the versatility of each director.
Like all anthologies there are some segments that are better than others but fortunately they range from very good to excellent. The set-up story that threads all the others together being the weakest by far – but even that has its moments. Each segment seems to improve on the last, and you get a real feel for each distinct directorial style bleeding onto the screen. I think it’s worth mentioning that there does seem to be a strange thread of misogyny running through it, although there’s no doubt in my mind that this has been included as a some sort of commentary on how female characters have been treated in horror in the past, because the film is way to smart for it play such an evident role and not be aware of it.
As a genre fan, there’s so much fun to be had with it – genuinely scary, creepy, frightening, atmospheric. And the great thing is, this being an anthology means we get to experience all these things numerous times and in so many different ways. V/H/S breathes some very needed life into the use of found footage in horror, putting the style to good use as a tool of filmmaking and not just a gimmick. Instantly taking a place on the ‘best found footage movie ever’ podium – it’s just that good