{2jtab: Movie Review}

V/H/S - Blu-ray Review


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4 stars

Anthology horror, especially if you grew up in the 1980s and thrived on those awfully bloody VHS finds you discovered, rarely gets any better than V/H/S.  That being said, if you don’t have a clue as to what the term VHS is referring to then this film is simply not for you.  It is truly terrifying to realize that some of you will have no idea of the format (in the days before the internet) and the excitement visiting the grimy corner video store for those rare finds once was to horror hounds.

The found footage format gets a swift kick in the behind by the directorial talents of Adam Wingard (The ABC’s of Death), David Bruckner (The Signal), Ti West (The Innkeepers), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), Joe Swanberg (The Zone) and Radio Silence (Mountain Devil Prank Fails Horribly) in V/H/S. While the POV format is gaining a rising voice of dissent, I maintain that the style is still a valid form of entertainment as long as the talent is there.  And, with this collection of horror tales, the talent is truly assembled.

A group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the criminals are confronted with a dead body, a collection of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic VHS tapes, each video stranger and more inexplicable than the last.  That’s the main arc of the movie.  Entitled “Tape 56”, this storyline connects all the other stories as the group must watch them all in order to find the right one.

The creep factor is legitimately profound in V/H/S and percolates into a steaming mess of innovative horror.  The tension, racked up to a “10”, burns with urgency and shames most modern day horror releases.  Of course, you’d never be able to tell this from its opening few minutes.  Okay, okay, so maybe the shaky camera opening will turn off some viewers, but stick with it.  The dark promise unleashed by this anthology is genuinely distinctive and surprisingly unsettling.

The film, digitally shot to mimic the look of the horror films of a by-gone era, is a brutal mix of unique horror.  While a bit uneven in some of the stories, the anthology does scare up its fair share of jumps and mesmerizing terror to provide enough memorable entertainment to become a staple in the Halloween season.  Anyone concerned with how it appears should take note that it is designed, produced, and shot to echo the “cheaper” look of the VHS format.

With V/H/S, America’s new breed of genre filmmakers, raised as I was on those gory films of yore, string together six different tales of rock and schlock brutality just in time to deck the halls with … ehem … parts of Charlie.

Merry Christmas.

{2jtab: Film Details}

V/H/S - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.
116 mins.
: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; David Bruckner; Tyler Gillett; Justin Martinez; Glenn McQuaid; Joe Swanberg; Chad Villella; Ti West; Adam Wingard
Writer(s): Simon Barrett; Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; David Bruckner; Tyler Gillett; Justin Martinez; Glenn McQuaid; Nicholas Tecosky; Chad Villella; Ti West
Calvin Reeder; Lane Hughes; Kentucker Audley; Adam Wingard; Hannah Fierman; Joe Sykes
: Horror
This collection is killer.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I like you."
Magnet Releasing
Home Video Distributor:
Magnolia Pictures
Release Date:
No theatrical Release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 4, 2012

Synopsis: When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

V/H/S - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 4, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

As I mentioned in my review of the film, V/H/S isn’t meant to look awesome by any means.  It’s meant to look like video tape from the 1980’s.  And, based on that fact, the 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer does exactly that.  Shot on low-res camcorders, every single frame of this looks like it has been rented from a VHS store about 300,000 times.   Blurriness, fuzziness, tape glitches, banding, heavy shadows, and every other quirk of the format is featured here.  The sound, presented in lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, isn’t as post-produced as the picture.  However, it is does defy the picture’s intentions with a few atmospheric touches in the surround channels.



  • Director Ti West sits this one out, but everyone else is present for this uninformative laugh-a-thon.

Special Features:

We’ve got a pretty good selection of goodies in this grab bag.  Up first is an anti-climactic alternate ending for one of the tales.  Following that is a quick behind the scenes look at another short.  After the making of featurettes, there’s a Sype interview with Joe Swanberg, Simon Barrett and Helen Rogers and then a series of solid interviews with the filmmakers and the actors in the film.  An AXS TV produced look at the film is included as is a nice assortment of conceptual designs of one of the characters and a photo gallery from all of the tales in the anthology.

  • Alternate Ending (2 min)
  • More Tuesday The 17th (3 min)
  • Amateur Night (4 min)
  • Webcam Interviews (14 min)
  • Cast and Crew Interviews (29 min)
  • AXS TV: A Look At V/H/S (5 min)
  • Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery
  • Conceptual Design Gallery

{2jtab: Trailer}