Wednesday, August 1, 2012

V/H/S (2012) review


V/H/S (2012) (1st viewing)
d. Bruckner/McQuaid/Swanberg/West/Wingard/Radio Silence (USA)

As evidenced over the years, the horror anthology format is not an easy one to pull off, regardless of the talent involved (hello, The Theatre Bizarre). Meanwhile, the “found footage” milieu has saturated the market over the past decade, a relentlessly problematic cinematic device increasingly employed by no-budget filmmakers who claim to be reflecting our self-absorbed society, but really just don’t feel like building or lighting a set. So it is with cojones the size of watermelons the indie horror dream team of David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Ti West, Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg and short film collective Radio Silence strapped on their camcorders to crank out a sextet of fright featurettes. The results are enjoyable enough for my tastes, but predictably there are stronger segments than others, with all straining the “need-to-film” narrative convention in various ways. For those keeping score at home, we have a freaky frat boy sex-tape-scenario-gone-wrong (Bruckner), vacationing couple menaced by sneaky hotel burglar (West), a Skype conversation enlivened by mysterious diminutive visitors (Swanberg), a slasher in the woods yarn with a virtual twist (McQuaid) and a Halloween party-gone-haunted house mindtrip (Radio Silence), all within a home heist wraparound directed by Wingard. For those able to overcome the niggling that both subgenres inherently present, there are shivers to be found and worse ways to spend a couple hours.

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