V/H/S (2012) (Blu-ray Review)
Director: David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Adam Wingard, Radio Silence, and Joe Swanberg
Where to get it: Magnet
V/H/S/ is a POV, found footage horror film from the perspective of America’s top genre filmmakers. A group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger than the last.
Boy am I slightly disappointed. V/H/S was one of my more anticipated films of the year for me. I’ve enjoyed the work by many of the people behind this before and I assumed with the VHS gimmick it would be a masterpiece. On the surface this isn’t an unwatchable film. This isn’t what I’d call a bad film if you add everything about it up. Still, for the talent behind this thing is doesn’t deliver at the level it should have. POV films need to always look as genuine as possible. This is supposed to be VHS tapes yet you can tell this was done on a HD camera (some better than others). I can suspend disbelief for a film as good as the next guy but that makes it hard. We also find when we break each story down story by story (there are five and a wrap around one) that most leave more questions than answers. While the lots of them aren’t terrible in their own right they fail to get over the just average stage. And for some of them, calling them average is a little bit of a stretch.
The wrap around story builds tension but fails to give us a solid reward when it ends. But now let us get into the tapes they watch a bit. The first VHS story is somewhat interesting and bloody. It is filled with unlikable characters but is harmless. The second one disappointed me a little. It leaves way too many questions and I would have expected a lot more from Ti West than what we get. His may deliver the weakest of the segments here. The third is a play on slashers and ends up being a cool and clever idea that is brought down by terrible characters, bad motives, and terrible dialogue. The next one deals with Skype and gives us perhaps our first likable character and somewhat interesting twists. Its main fault is having a plot that doesn’t add up as well as we’d hope and does leave things a little too open. The very last VHS we see is typical horror paranormal stuff, but it plays into the VHS gimmick the best and does give is a nice paces and freaky experience. So when you add all this up we have a watchable but very flawed and lacking film.
As far as what you get with the transfer here, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The cameras that were better camera and more fit for HD look good in their respected segments, but lesser ones look less appealing. This is a good and bad thing because the worse looking video does do a better job of overall driving home the VHS feel, but it makes people not that worried about it feel it is lacking as far as Blu-ray quality goes. That being the case, some of you might feel better about just sticking with the DVD version.
The Movie: (6.5/10)
The Transfer: (6/5/10)