When a group of criminals are sent to break into a house to retrieve a tape they know little about, they find a cache of bizarre found footage. When the house’s sole occupant is found dead in front of stack of T.Vs emitting eerie white noise, the guys take to watching the VHS tapes. What kind of horrible things have been recorded? Are they really as alone in the house as they think?
First the buns (The segments that tie it all together): Finding a stockpile of disturbing VHS movies is a good idea. Having the finders watch those movies in a creepy house with a dead man in it is a good idea. But having the finders be criminals who assault a young woman within the first 2 mins of the movie is a terrible idea. Next, they vandalize someone’s place. By the time they reach the house, the place has lost all its creepiness because the viewer’s rooting for the home to hurry up and kill them already. But first we have to watch the found footage.
The first Patty(“Amateur Night” Segment): Three “bros” go to the bar to pick up women and end up with squirrely looking lady who too easily makes known her affection for the guy with the camera glasses. All sorts of red flags go off and for good reason… It isn’t creepy. Not even scary. Interesting, maybe, as a part of a T.V. show or stand alone urban legend of sorts. It isn’t enough of a hook to live up to “So terrifying it made people sick”. By the end, you’re 30 mins in to the movie.
The Second Patty(“Second Honeymoon” Segment): Is really the downfall. With unlikeable core characters and an OK first entry, this second one is really off base. Here, a couple is vacationing when they notice a girl bumming a ride in the middle of the night at the motel they are staying at. They think to call the cops because of the disruption but don’t. Turns out that girlie can somehow get into their room at night while they’re sleeping though… SPOILER… it’s kind of a snuff film… and the guy's girlfriend was in on it the whole time (Which makes void the little amount of scary it had going for it)! While the rest of the movie anthology has a supernatural feel, this one’s completely different.
The Fourth Patty(“The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” Segment): Begins okay with a woman connecting with an old friend and love interest via webcam. She thinks her place is haunted and connects with him when the ghosts are at play during the night. But there’s more to the situation than a simple haunting. The love interest himself is implicated somehow. The pay out in this one isn’t great and for its flavor is a lot like the first patty: just Ok .
The Fifth Patty(“10/31/98”): at 1 hr 28 mins in, the other redeeming section pops up, by then, too little too late. A group of guys go to a Halloween party to find the house empty. They scour the house in search of the party, mistaking supernatural forces at work for an elaborate gag – that is until they stumble upon some sort of cult event upstairs. The house really comes alive thereafter. While predictable at parts and could well be faulted for overly flashy CG, it still pulls off a decent scare factor. Is easily the best section of the movie.
If you gotta watch it, the 55min and 1hr 28 min markers are the place to be, otherwise, you’re not missing much if you missed watching V/H/S in its entirety.