For a man who hates found footage horror with a passion I watch an awful lot of them. This is because modern, English speaking horror is in such a rut right now, comprising almost entirely of remakes, sequels, reboots or just rehashing old ideas that even though Paranormal Activity came out in 2007 (Blair Witch Project in 1999!), we are still getting the same tired ideas a hundred times. However, the found footage style, like 3D, doesn’t have to be a replacement for actual ideas, sometimes it can enhance, even make the movie. V/H/S just about falls into this category.
There isn’t really a plot as such. Some criminals, one sporting a great moustache, break into a dead guys house to find a videotape. When presented with many videotapes they start watching them all in the guys house obviously. We, the audience, are watching the films as well and this is what the movie is. This means it is broken down into different stories and segments (all directed by different people) which is a concept that other horror directors need to look into as they all find it so hard to keep a movie interesting for 90 minutes.
Nearly every segment is just ‘stuff happens, builds into WTF ending’ but I think that formulae works well in the right hands. If you leave a horror film (scared obviously but also…) thinking to yourself ‘what the fuck have I just seen?’ then it has done its job.
There is a lot of rubbish in mainstream horror at the moment but V/H/S shows that some people are at least trying to move things forward.