A contemporary horror anthology in which the sum is greater than its parts, the minds behind V/H/S alternately conform to and defy genre conventions at each turn, even if the entire production falls victim to a foreseeable air of inconsistency. For the uninformed, V/H/S focuses primarily on group of misfits commissioned to break into and rob a desolate countryside estate of a coveted VHS tape, only to discover a mixed lot of increasingly peculiar footage that may or may not be related to what they seek. While a dead man rests in the chair behind each one of the hooligans as they view said footage, the mystery surrounding the otherwise desolate residence grows more sinister as time presses on.
Varying in terms of effectiveness, intensity and overall execution, there’s a certain grittiness about V/H/S that aids in accentuating the purposefully over exaggerated handheld/found-footage approach. Encompassing everything from ominous voyeurism to the occult, each short isn’t without it’s moments, especially given the awkwardly disarming authenticity and intimacy that go hand-in-hand with a subgenre aiming to emulate your parents’ old home videos.
Soon enough, everything including the wraparound story falls into a predictable rhythm, showering viewers with an onslaught of blood and dread as all hope seems lost for each set of characters. Like I said, the payoffs aren’t as satisfyingly consistent as you’d like them to be, but as for this collective of aspiring genre-defining auteurs, they know what effective horror is and how to earn their gasps and jumps. So, if you’re looking for a bit of unconventionality amid the latest barrage of generic slasher and demonic possession-inspired trash, V/H/S is the way to go if you can appreciate its technical quirks, smattering of talent and slight inability to wrap things up admirably.