V/H/S: The Hughes Verdict!

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STARRING: Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil, Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes

DIRECTORS: Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg and Ti West.

The Hughes Verdict!

Hmmmm……….As I sat back and watched V/H/S on DVD (????), a great glow came over me. The much talked about horror was finally before my eyes and like a child at Christmas, I was eagerly excited! Tingles of eagerness to be scared and thoughts of seeing a brilliant horror was all in my mind. Was this the “found footage” horror to end all horrors? Enough as been said about V/H/S too suggest that it could well be and with the name Ti West attached to the project, well nothing could really go wrong, Could It?Well……yes!

You see V/H/S is not a very good film, its not even up there with little unknown gems like Atrocious and Evil Things. Apart from two stories of pure joy, I actually found the experience nothing more than a waste of my time and actually found it quite nasty and at times totally dull.

V/H/S plays out like a whole new modern take of Tales From The Crypt, an anthology of short horror films all combined in one whole package. Instead of the Cryptkeeper we have a bunch of most unlikeable characters I have seen in a long time. These group of men go around filming their “hilarious” antics of lifting up young innocent women’s tops to expose their breasts and then smashing windows and just being a bunch of bastards! “Will you lot Die already” was my thought and already ten minutes into this film I knew that this did not bode well.

Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die), directs the overall segment entitled Tape Fifty-Six and its as ugly as the film that made his name, these criminals who after having endless of fun being a bunch of wankers are hired to retrieve a videotape for a mysterious client. The house they enter is eerily quiet and they discover a dead man’s body in a chair who looked as if he had died from watching to much Telly, or better still, may have died from boredom from watching V/H/S. In front of the dead man is a TV and loads of blank VHS tapes and while the rest of the gang search the house, one of the members stays in the room and decides to see what is on the blank tapes. So what he see’s, we the viewer do also and so begins the tales of terror

We do start off pretty good though. Amateur Night, by David Bruckner (The Signal), is a tasty little tale about the terror of picking up a random girl in a party. Three college guys out for a night of booze and sex, pick up two girls where one of them is quiet and quite strange.

As the much louder girl passes out due too extreme alcohol, the boys turn their attention to the timid girl whose only words “I like you!” and the odd sniff of her noise should put alarm bells in most guy’s minds. What follows is a brilliant piece of horror that sweeps you in and makes you pine for more. Its a brilliant tale by Bruckner, full of gore and suspense, with a final shot that made me want to see more and from then on I was hoping despite the start, V/H/S may save itself thanks to these short stories.

Sadly the in-between tales are more miss than hit.

Second Honeymoon, which is directed by West is a tale about a young couple’s road trip that goes very wrong indeed. Its not very good, builds up too nothing of note and is very disappointing, especially with the name behind the camera.

The Strange Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger, directed by Joe Swanberg and Simon Barrett; is nothing more than a Paranormal Activity kind of rip off that would have been good a few years back if it weren’t for all the Activity sequels that has made scares like already feel old hat.

Tuesday the 17th byGlenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), is of course a homage to the Jason legacy but after the much better The Hills Run Red from a few years back, the film is poorly acted and has one of the worst slasher creations I have seen in a long time!

V/H/S does finish with cracking story by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin. Entitled 10/31/98, four guys going to a Halloween party end up going to the wrong house and what they find is odd and quite surreal. A group of men are torturing a young woman in the attic and when they try to play the hero, they discover its best at times not to do the right thing as what follows is totally freaky and down right disturbing, This story is the best of the entire lot and I would say its probably worth watching the film just for this segment.

In-between these tales, we cut back to the criminals and see what they are doing, but like I said, this story did nothing for me and I hope the planned sequel does a better tale in how we the audience get to see this footage.

Grainy and amateurish, V/H/S has good intentions to the found footage genre and I had to admire the attempt to bring something new to the genre. But anthology tales live and die by how good they are and two good stories out of Five, shows that despite the best attempts of those involved, V/H/S leaves nothing more than a feeling of disappointment.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


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About Ross Hughes 525 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!


  1. I must say, I enjoyed it more than you mate, but we certainly agree that Amateur Night and 10/31/98 were the best. 10/31/98 was one of the best pieces of horror I have seen in a long time, an outstanding short film. Have to admit that I too was disappointed with Ti West’s effort, especially considering what he has directed previously, and I also hated that silly slasher creation, the worst segment of the lot. The sequel looks insane though mate, and has some VERY good directors. I posted the trailer last night!

  2. I watched this last night and disliked it very much. First, it gave me motion sickness. Secondly, I thought the stories were rather weak. I agree, the first and last were the best ones and enjoyable. The main storyline of the guys raiding the house wasn’t very coherant and I personally thought it wasn’t a very good setup to introduce the shorts.

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