I discovered this film a few years ago and have seen it a few times since. Due to the fact that it’s mostly a compilation of stories and not one continuous storyline, I’ll be reviewing each segment as it’s own little movie. Some of the segments are really good and some of them are just fucking bad. As usual, this will not be a spoiler-free review so continue at your own risk.
This is the first segment you will see when you start the film. It starts with guys who are vandalizing buildings and shit. Then they are running around pulling up tops of women to expose their bras/tits (in public areas) presumably for some kind of porn video or to upload online. Seems like they are getting paid for the footage. One of the guys mentions this house and how they are supposed to go get a tape from there, or something, and if they do they’ll make a lot of money. When they get to the house they find a dead body but more than that, they find a bunch of V/H/S tapes. Of course as any normal human being would, they sit down to watch the tapes at the house instead of, you know, taking the tapes and leaving. Then it goes into just watching the tapes.
This is a group of guy friends (one who has glasses outfitted with a hidden camera) in order to pick up girls and take them back to a hotel to make some kind of amateur porn video. They go to a bar, find a few girls, and then take them back to the hotel. Once they get there, it’s clear that one of the girls is too drunk to consent. They try, kind of, to get her to consent but then stop when they realize it’s not something they should do. Ten points to this movie for that because I’m sure that the feminists would love that if they actually watched the horror movies they complain about.
The other girl is still awake and seems pretty interested in one of the guys. They talk and everything and then start to get frisky. It’s around that point that it becomes clear that something is off with this girl. She starts to transform into some type of monster. I mean whoever did the effects on this is fucking amazing, by the way. The girl goes insane, or more like CREATURE goes insane and starts to attack everyone in the room. It’s not really explained what type of creature she is. Possibly some sort of old fashioned take on a vampire? Not sure. Chaos ensues as she kills people in the room and starts to chase Clint (the guy who is wearing the video camera glasses).
He runs around, gets hurt, breaks his leg as he falls trying to get away from her. It doesn’t exactly matter, though, because she can fly. She lands on top of him, getting in his face, tells him she likes him, and then flies off into the night with him. This is where the tape ends and it goes back to Tape 56 footage and more or less the reactions of the people watching it. I really enjoyed this segment. The makeup effects on the cat/vampire/creature girl were awesome. I’m not even sure how they did that, or how they possibly could, given the whole found footage an actual amateur feel of the film. It was also gory, suspenseful, and somewhat realistic. The acting was on par and I believed it was a good start to this movie.
This starts off with just a guy and a girl who are on a romantic vacation in Arizona. The girl is filming a lot of stuff and going around with the guy. They appear to be a married couple. It’s kind of boring until you realize they are being stalked. The stalker, who’s face you never see, uses their camera a lot to film weird shit. Like taking a toothbrush and dunking it in the toilet. Or general shit like that. The stalker is also filming them while they sleep and clearly near by at any given time.
It leads up to a point where the stalker is filming the husband sleep and finally makes their move. Stabbing the man in the neck. It’s actually pretty damn brutal and realistic for a found footage type movie. Lots of blood. The “twist” to this whole thing seems to be that the wife set it up and the stalker was known by her the whole time. Why? Because the stalker is a woman and it’s clear with how they make out after the husband is dead that they are in love with each other.
I think this segment is somewhat boring. The only thing that somewhat saves it is the brutal throat stabbing at the end and the fact that it was somewhat of a ‘new’ twist that I hadn’t seen before. Otherwise, it’s far from my favorite segment and it takes a lot of time to build up speed. By the point where the husband dies I just didn’t care any more and was glad that there was an ending point so we could move on to the next story/tape.
Tuesday The 17th:
This one was one of my absolute favorites on the entire V/H/S film. There are four people who travel out for a camping trip. One of them is the new girl, Wendy, and as they travel and hike she keeps talking about accidents and disappearances in the woods and things like that. Of course at first no one really believes her too much and it seems like she’s just telling ghost stories. That is, until, everyone there starts having their own accidents. As it turns out, Wendy was there previously with her friends and they all died. She was the only one who had gotten out alive. She came back with more people to try to catch whoever had done this to her friends. Get revenge.
The problem with all of this is that the killer in the woods is definitely some type of supernatural entity. They can never get him clearly on film. He glitches from one place to the next. The traps are brutal and random. There is such a sense of paranoia watching this segment. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the way the killer moves and jumps around. How the screen glitches. The editing is spot on and so is the acting. The effects of each one of the deaths are great too. Traps spring up out of nowhere and it seems like this killer entity can even manipulate the forest around him. Pretty much makes you think twice about trying to go into the woods, even just for a simple hike.
The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger:
I didn’t like this one, it was straight up stupid, long, and boring (if you ask me). First of all you have this girl, Emily, who is constantly on video chat with this Doctor guy who is also presumably her friend. She has some weird marks on her body or something. She’s showing them to him and he’s saying that they are nothing or whatever. She also starts hearing and seeing shit in typical jump scare fashion. More and more things start happening to her. She begs her doctor friend to come over but he’s allegedly across the country in another state.
Things start to get worse and worse until she freaks out and whatever. Then the doctor friend nearly immediately comes into her house after she is knocked out or hurt or whatever (to be honest I didn’t pay that much attention because I was so bored) and takes an alien fetus out of her and leaves. Seems like Emily is being experimented on and has no idea. She wakes up after that thinking she was assaulted or something and having no idea that her doctor friend is experimenting on her and she’s just mentally ill or whatever. There’s way too high of a level of suspension of disbelief for me to get through this one (personally) and I’d say people should just skip it all together.
Flashback to Halloween 1998 where there are four male friends dressed up for a halloween party. They travel to a house but it ends up being the wrong house. They decide to explore the place anyway and it becomes obvious that the house they got into is an actual haunted house. They start to have fun with this because, why not? Who wouldn’t? (Namely me because I’d have just gotten the fuck out of there).
As they explore they end up in the attic where they find some sort of cult, or something. There are men there who are clearly about to kill a young woman. Of course, they are caught and after a bunch of paranormal activity (and watching the girl get assaulted) the four guys try to run out of the house. Then they realize they should probably attempt to save the girl. They run back, grab her, and a very awesome effect of hands coming out of the walls happens. Seriously, this was very well done. A lot of the effects in this segment were flawless and looked ‘real’ as if they were actually happening.
They get the girl out of there and into their car and are driving. However, at a certain point the girl just vanishes into thin air. The car stops on some train tracks. The girl appears in front of them and the car won’t start again. It becomes rather obvious that whatever the original men were doing, wasn’t out of malice but an attempt to stop this girl who is obviously evil. The doors to the car lock, a train comes, and that is the end of the four men. As cliche as this segment was at certain points it was really fucking creepy. It was my second favorite out of all of them. Highly recommend.
Now between all the points where the segments are seen, they do cut back to Tape 56 to further that story. If you can call it that. I really have no idea what the point of Tape 56 was and no one really ever explains any of the additional tapes or why this man in this house has them (or even what tape the guy who sent them there was looking for). The man’s dead body vanishes at some point and in between tapes the people who broke in are looking around the house, they believe they are seeing things move around. It ends with the man coming back to life and/or being a zombie and attacking them. There is no further explanation offered for basically any of these tapes.
If I had to rank the segments in order from most to least favorite it would go like this:
- Tuesday The 17th
- Amateur Night
- Second Honeymoon
- The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger
As much as the over all “plot” doesn’t make sense, it’s a decent film to watch. Try to ignore all the Tape 56 bullshit (which I still don’t understand) and think of it as a series of short horror films. Since none of them connect in any way, if you want to skip segments or even watch them out of order, it won’t matter. You don’t need any context to any of them to enjoy the story they present. I would recommend this movie but mostly for specific segments. As an over all movie that tries to have a plot it really just makes no sense. It’s decent though, especially for everything being found footage.