18 April 2017

VHS: A GRISLY HORROR ANTHOLOGY FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




VHS. (2012) DIRECTED BY MATT BETTINELLI-OLPIN, DAVID BRUCKNER, TYLER GILLETT, JUSTIN MARTINEZ, GLENN MCQUAID, RADIO SILENCE, JOE SWANBERG, CHAD VILLELLA, TI WEST AND ADAM WINGARD.
STARRING HANNAH FIERMAN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'I like you...'

This is a great little horror anthology film which a friend discovered first and then recommended to me. The five stories it contains are a little patchy and uneven at times, but overall I'd say that this is one you should look out for. Mind you, it's a few years old by now so you guys have probably already seen it. But for the benefit of those who haven't, let's move in for a closer look at the separate plots of the five gruesome tales.

The five vignettes are called: AMATEUR NIGHT, SECOND HONEYMOON, TUESDAY THE 17TH, THE SICK THING THAT HAPPENED TO EMILY WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER (catchy, that one...!) and HALLOWEEN '98. Here we go, anyway.

Always start with your best story, isn't that the way it tends to go with these anthology films? I personally thought the first story was the best of the lot. A bunch of rowdy college kids (all male) like to videotape themselves sexually harassing unsuspecting women. And the language out of them is so filthy, I wouldn't even dare to repeat it here. Those ignorant little f***ers. I'd love to give the privileged little s***s what for, so I would. Shower of w*****s, that's what they are.

Anyway, one night, after a particularly rowdy drinking binge, they meet a girl who's a little bit different. She's kind of intense, if you get me. When the lead jock is denied sex because his original date has passed out from the booze, he turns his attentions to this other girl, the intense one. It's the last thing he ever does. It's nice to see these thoroughly objectionable rich p****s getting a taste of their own medicine. You wouldn't believe how nice...

In the second story, a couple who seem to be well used to each other take a road-trip to rediscover their love for each other. To this end, they sleep in separate beds in their motel and the guy even accuses his bird of stealing the dosh from his wallet. When he's not pressuring her to strip off for his camera, that is. And meanwhile, while they sleep, someone else is using their camcorder for the most sinister of purposes...

The third one starts off promisingly enough but sort of peters out. A bunch of young 'uns visit some woods where a load of murders were committed, you know the type of thing. Then a female member of the camping party starts acting- and talking- weird and it looks like things are starting to become interesting. False alarm. Watch it for yourself and see what you thiuk. I always love those 'murder in the woods' stories but this one was a bit lame.

In the fourth story, which I liked pretty much as much as I liked the first one, a really annoying, needy college girl called Emily is Skype-ing her long-suffering medical student boyfriend around the clock. She's been hearing spooky noises in her student apartment and she thinks she's been seeing ghostly figures around the place. Her boyfriend is tolerant up to a point. But then, while they're in the middle of a Skype call, he sees the apparitions too...

In the last vignette, another bunch of boozed-up jocks turn up at a seemingly empty house for a Halloween party they think is being held there. It's not. There is something going on at the top of the house, though. Something highly disturbing that leads the boys to commit an act of bravery and heroism that backfires badly on them. Sometimes a damsel in distress isn't all that she appears to be...

There's a bit of a storyline holding all these tales together, but it's not great. A bunch of petty criminals are hired by an unknown party to retrieve a mysterious videotape containing found footage from a house in the middle of nowhere that has a suspiciously quiet tenant in situ. The lads all watch these five vignettes on a videotape which they bung in the old VCR.

I'm not surprised that people are still watching horror films that involve this ancient, antiquated form of technology. BLU-RAY or NETFLIX just don't have the same ring to 'em. 
And it's nice to see that horror movie directors have finally cottoned on to the whole 'found footage' thing. Maybe now that they know of its existence (at long last!), they'll make more use of it.

Speaking of which, I have an idea myself for a 'found footage' screenplay that I think might just fly with the Hollywood bigwigs. Scary woods, see, with a witch supposedly in 'em and a history of gruesome murders and a load of young folks running around screaming and looking for each other as, one by one, they all go missing.

And there should be loads of close-ups too, right, of people talking direct to camera and crying about how sorry they are to have f***ed things up so royally for each other and then suddenly, they find an old abandoned house in the woods that might belong to the murderer, say, and then...

Wait a minute. Youse better not be writing this down. It's my idea, see. This could be my big break. I need this. I really need it. Better send it off to Hollywood right away before anyone steals it on me. Anyone got the loan of a stamp? And do these things need to be typed up or what...?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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