Republished from MOVE Magazine
If buzz, local-ness or probability of fainting were to be used as criteria, the most anticipated film of the 2012 True/False Film Fest had to be “V/H/S.” The horror flick is, in fact, fiction (or “False,” if you will), was directed by a handful of directors and features a number of Columbia residents both on- and off-screen.
The movie is split up into five shorts which are interwoven by an overarching story about a group of guys looking for a VHS tape in the basement of a house. We don’t know why they’re looking for it because neither do they.
We can, however, assume it has something to do with sex. Sex is one of the not-so-subtle components of the film as well as blood, which makes the film a lot of fun. The first two shorts seemed to be the strongest, and although it is questionable whether they lived up to the people-are-gonna-pass-out-in-their-seats hype (I personally didn’t notice any faintings), they were a ton of fun and made good use of special effects, especially for a small-scale film shot in handheld style.
Unfortunately, the laughs at purposely funny moments in the first two shorts were replaced by laughs at the horrendous acting in the third short, which was kind enough to supply sides of horrible writing and pretty horrible production as well. Perhaps the short was playing on the trope of horror films featuring despicable acting, but I think that might be giving it a little too much credit.
Thankfully, the fourth short picked up the slack with an innovative premise and the fifth short boasted the best effects of the bunch.
Unfortunately, all in all, the film seemed to drag on much too long. Whether cutting the third short entirely would have solved this problem isn’t certain, but it undoubtedly would’ve been a step in the right direction.
At its best, “V/H/S” is a thoroughly enjoyable (Sex! Blood! More sex!) in-the-dark flick with an ingenious format and moments of admirable ambition. At its worst, the format hinders the movie with serious pacing problems.
The biggest disappointment, though, might have been the lack of medics dragging unconscious moviegoers to the nearest first aid tent.