johnlink ranks V/H/S (2012)

This is movie number 466 watched for this project, and the first which starts with the letter ‘V’. How odd is that? Anyway, this is a found footage film which is unique in that it is essentially five short films, with a sixth narrative woven through the telling of the five shorts. Each segment has a unique director. As a result, I am going to consider scores for each segment separately  and then combine this all into one cohesive thought at the end. This is a first for this blog, so let’s see how this works out…

I watched V/H/S (2012) on 10.18.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

     Segment: Tape 56 (Directed By: Adam Wingard)

This is the overarching story for this film which is woven before and during the other films. The fact that the film does not come back to end with this pretty much sums of the value of it. The characters here are not likable. They film themselves committing arson and sexual assault. Ultimately, the guys end up in a house where they are tasked with collecting VHS tapes. The tapes they find and watch are the other segments, making them snuff films, supposedly.

The first ten minutes of this segment are really poor. I almost shut this movie off, not thinking I could take these guys for two hours. The segments which came between the other films weren’t nearly as bad, though this overall segment would probably rank as the one I liked the least. There’s just nothing of value here, even if one surprise which pops up serves as one of the better scares of the entire film.

FILM: 3; MOVIE: 5; ACTING: 3; WRITING: 4

—-

   Segment: Amateur Night (Directed By: David Bruckner)

The transition to this film is odd, if only because the characters seem to have some of the same motivations as the characters from the opening segment, so it takes a few moments to know we are definitely in a new world.

This film is shot through spy glasses, and the result is choppy, blurry, and unfocused. Despite this, this portion of V/H/S is ambitious and bold. The boys are trying to film sex, and the woman they bring back to the hotel is not who they think she is. While the scares here are genuine, I really wish it had been shot in a way which was more easily followed. The choppiness of the footage is hard to watch. Because we know this is just a movie, because this is so clearly fiction, there is nothing added by making the found footage so poorly produced.

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 8; BONUS: -1 (for the poor shooting)

—-

 Segment: Second Honeymoon (Directed By: Ty West)

This is the best of the segments in terms of its filmic qualities, and it comes from the director of another film I had some good things to say about: THE INNKEEPERS.

This story is about a couple who is out on vacation, only someone else seems to be tracking them as well. The scares here are based in tension, and they are different from the others in that this is not a monster or ghost story, but a suspense flick.

This was, for me, the most horrifying of films, and it best used its short format in terms of telling a full story and developing fully fleshed-out characters. If the entire film had been made of this quality, the overall project would have been better served.

FILM: 7; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 7

—-

Segment: Tuesday the 17th (Directed By: Glenn McQuaid)

On the other end of the spectrum is this mess. This is a story of kids in the woods, only they seem to be there for a specific purpose: to be bait. The killer in this, a blurry monster-man, is fairly effective. The characters, the writing, and the individuality of this segment are sadly less so. This is a poorly-shot mess with plenty of silly drug and sex clichés. In a film filled with gratuitous nudity, this one segment just felt gratuitous itself.

FILM: 2; MOVIE: 3; ACTING: 1; WRITING: 3

—-

Segment: The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger (Directed By: Joe Swanberg)

This is a unique ghost story which is not what it seems. The entire film is seen on a computer desktop as a conversation between two people in a webchat. It starts and ends with two blatantly gratuitous strip-teases which belie an otherwise clever short. The ghost hunting segments in this are as good as any feature ghost movie, though the best part of this piece of V/H/S is its smart script.

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 4; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 6

Segment: 10/31/98 (Directed By: Radio Silence)

Very close to the segment Second Honeymoon in terms of quality, with 10.31.98’s naive characters being the only piece of this film falling short. This is a ghost-house movie, with four friends accidentally stumbling into the wrong house party on Halloween. The scares here build slowly, but reach an absolutely terrific and non-stop level which would not be sustainable in a full-length film. There are enough jumps in this short to fill a normal feature, so the use of the time is nice. I can see why they chose to finish with this movie, since it certainly has a satisfying climax.

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 5

Overall thoughts:

There is a lack of cohesion to these films. The themes and moments are repetitive, which leads to the conclusion that these weren’t worked on together, but are rather a collection of separately created shorts. That’s fine, if slightly less effective due to a moment being dulled because something similar just happened  fifteen minutes earlier in a different story. The overall effect of this movie works, I would say, even if not every piece of it carries its weight.

OVERALL SCORES

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 6; BONUS: -1

The negative point emphasizes that lack of cohesion, while also nodding to the fact that the only bonus given above was a negative one.

5+6+4+6-1=20

FINAL SCORE: 5

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~ by johnlink00 on October 19, 2012.

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