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Review: V/H/S

Horror movies don't need resolution to be scary. They don't need some explanation of why some invisible force is attacking a group of teens, why the house is haunted, or how no one noticed the innocent girl you just picked up is really some horrific monstrosity. Thankfully V/H/S doesn't submit to needing any explanation for these hackneyed horror cliches and instead creates what is quite possibly one of the most entertaining horror-anthologies in recent memory, and it does it with panache.

Directed by not one, but six directors: David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid (of 'I Sell the Dead' fame), Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard, Ti West (who made the fabulous 'The House of the Devil'), and Radio Silence. What you get from each is a scary within a scary. Basically what you've got are some of the most unlikeable males this side of Game of Thrones. Imagine Joffrey in the 21st century and you might have an idea of how disgusting these people are. So this group of reprobates, at the suggestion of a new member to their little gang, decide rape videos aren't making enough money so it's time to take a job that will get them some real dough. They head out to a house to find a VHS tape that will get them cash. Therein lies the rub; the house is empty save for its one occupant and a ton of VHS tapes. Which is the one they need? Time to go through each and find what they're looking for. Each tape is filled with terrifying imagery, which I won't detail here, that makes for some fun scares for you and me, the audience. I'll just say that I especially enjoyed the first tape and the last (the latter being Radio Silence's haunted house story). That's as much detail as you're getting. Want to know more? Watch the movie.

Fun. I did say V/H/S was entertaining didn't I? Scary? Seeing it at the Toronto After Dark film festival at the Bloor Cinema made for a great night with a lot of fans but took away the scary factor. In this reviewer's humble opinion I highly recommend it's best to watch horror movies alone at night in a basement instead of at a festival. That's just me. I can definitely see this scaring the majority of the audience and becoming the horror movie of the year. It will also make for a sweet Halloween party movie. With such talent behind the camera, seeing more of these anthologies would be a dream come true. Spread the word on Twitter because in Canada, at least, there are currently no plans for a wide release.

Each one of the scaries within the scary (five within the overarching story) could be their own feature length movie. Sometimes shorter is sweeter and I couldn't wait to see the next tape. If you get the opportunity to see V/H/S do so. You will not be disappointed.

The film's official site:


V/H/S was screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Summer Screenings on July 11.

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