Baddie: Oh, man, so many things.
Lesson: Anthologies are sometimes awesome!
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A couple of friends and I sat down recently to have a horror movie night (yeah, I have friends, and they’re cool like that). We opted to watch Dead Snow and V/H/S. Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Dead Snow, go watch it. I was so taken with V/H/S that I chose to watch the second one the following day. If you don’t know (I didn’t originally), V/H/S and the sequel are an anthology of shorts, basically, so I’ll review them each individually. Spoilers below, so, be warned.
V/H/S (2012): A group of delinquent young men (who typically make money by exposing innocent bystanders and selling the footage) are offered the opportunity to go on a larger heist job and make more money. Basically, they have to steal a VHS tape. When they enter the home, a man, deceased, is sitting in front of several televisions all running white noise. The group splits, leaving one man to guard the dead guy. He starts watching the tapes.
Amateur Night: This was one of the more confusing ones for me because it’s very closely related to the original plot, aka men trying to film amateur porn. Naturally, drunken behavior ensues at a bar, blah blah, they get two girls back to the room. One is a little…off. She has this weirdly big eyes and just whispers, “I like you.” to the camera-man (in this case, hidden camera in a pair of glasses). Well, then sex starts to happen, and it’s not any less creepy. The audience notices that Lily’s feet are…off. Like, scaled. Her face is starting to change, and she behaves primally at times. Then one of the other kids tries to join in, and Lily is unhappy. At this point, all hell breaks loose, and she just starts attacking. She’s almost completely transformed now. Some other sexy junk goes on, and it turns out Lily can fly. I prematurely guessed ‘harpy’, but, I’m not so sure.
Verdict: This one definitely has creepy moments, but it takes a long time to build up. The suspense is there, for sure, because there’s something ‘off’ about Lily, but at the end I just felt unresolved.
Second Honeymoon: A couple embarks on a roadtrip through the old West. At some point, someone asks them for a ride, but then vanishes. That night, the video camera starts filming in the hotel room, but it isn’t either one of the couple. Dramaaaaa~ The unknown filmmaker steals some money and vanishes. Now, throughout the short it’s clear that the couple has some issues. It’s even more clear at the conclusion, when the unknown filmmaker returns the second night and kills the husband, then she and the wife drive off into the sunset.
Verdict: This was one of my least favorites, to be honest. There was some decent suspense during the night filming, and the stabbing was somewhat unexpected? Overall it was somewhat predictable and not very scary.
Tuesday the 17th: Maybe the strangest of the shorts, and also one of the shortest, four teens go camping. One of them is a straight up weirdo, Wendy. They stop to swim in the lake, and shenanigans ensue when one of the girls ducks away. When I say shenanigans, I mean murder. It’s quickly revealed that Wendy has done this before, and an unknown assailant killed a bunch of her friends, so she brings more friends up as bait to lure the assailant in. The weird part is that the assailant appears as flickering static on the camera along with the faint outline of a man. It’s a cool effect, but ultimately not very scary.
Verdict: Odd. Very direct, I’ll admit, but not terribly scary. Lots of weird gore, but the plot is contrived and seems poorly executed. There’s no sense of Wendy really ‘failing’ to capture the murderer, because her attempts are all very badly done.
The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger: This short is ‘filmed’ entirely through Skype. It was cooler than I would have thought. Emily is talking to her boyfriend, and she’s noticed some odd things. A bump in her arm, for instance. Footsteps in her new apartment. Weirdness. Naturally, it’s ghosts. Emily handles this particularly well and decides she’ll try and talk to them. Boyfriend supports this for some reason. In either case, it’s aliens, and Emily is carrying fetuses for them. Boyfriend is her handler.
Verdict: This one was fairly scary, perhaps because Emily refused to be truly scared. The ghosts were alarming, to say in the least. The end was bizarre, and I was sufficiently creeped out.
10/31/98: Frat adults head to a party. Mansion is deserted, but they assume it’s a Haunted House and the party is somewhere inside, and start exploring. The house appears to be pretty haunted. Then they get to the attic, and some sort of cult ritual is going on. The boys join in, because apparently a room full of men and a screaming girl is their idea of a party. Soon they realize that it’s pretty real, and they should probably book. Well, not without saving the girl. The house goes nuts and tries to stop them from leaving, but, they succeed. Naturally the girl is actually possessed or something, and everyone dies.
Verdict: My least favorite short, to be honest. It was the least believable, and the ridiculous decisions made the scares cheap. It was easy to see the girl would be the issue, and the motive of death is revealed early on.
So, final decision? Definitely worth the watch, although I preferred the sequel (see next week’s review). Had some really great, genuinely scary moments, and, well, you just don’t get a lot of that these days. Honestly, this movie is what I wished The ABC’s of Death would have been.