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V/H/S (Blu-ray Review)

27 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 12/4/12
Box Office $0.1 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.
Stars Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Hannah Fierman.

In V/H/S a group of indie directors — Ti West, David Bruckner and Radio Silence, among others — combine five 30-minute shorts into a collective feature about four opportunistic louts who post herky-jerky videos of themselves on the Internet anonymously doing stuff — vandalism, groping women, acting vulgar — for money.

When offered quick cash to break into a home one night and retrieve an old VHS tape, the clueless quartet can’t get their mischievous souls to the ramshackle abode fast enough. Inside sits a creepy old man, apparently deceased.

Not sure which tape they’re looking for, one of them begins watching cassettes while the others slowly meet their silent demise (by guess who?) in the house. This is besides the point, since each seemingly disparate video actually reveals varying degrees of untold horror with eerie effectiveness.

“Amateur Night” is perhaps the best vignette, showcasing three cocksure dudes heading out to a local watering hole in search of female conquests. They meet Lisa (Jas Sams) and Lily (Hannah Fierman, who steals the movie) — two apparent vixens looking for more. With Lisa passed out on the bed, Lily, with her wide eyes, lithe build and mouthing “I like you” to the videographer, seems like easy prey to the dudes. How wrong they are.

“Second Honeymoon,” is vintage Ti West filmmaking. Sucking you into an unassuming first-person video account of a boring young couple (Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal) on a road trip in the Southwest. A knock on the motel door reveals a mysterious woman seeking a ride in the morning. That night, the video camera turns on, apparently controlled by an unknown intruder armed with a knife and true love.

“Tuesday the 17th” is a perfunctory out-in-the-woods coed slasher fest, while “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” introduces an insidious mind game over Skype between a disturbed girlfriend and her medical student boyfriend.

Finally, “10/31/98” finds another group of male revelers off to a Halloween party across town. Upon arriving at the empty house, they hear signs of revelry upstairs in the attic. Enter at your own risk.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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