An improbable burst of fresh air in one of the most tired subgenres.
The Horror subgenre of found footage film is a genre that simply needs to die. Even by the time Paranormal Activity 2 came out, it was a tired genre. Everybody knew the tropes, they had all become so dullingly the same. Which is why V/H/S is so awesome.
First a little setup, the film is sort of found-footage-ception. Put together by various cult horror filmmakers, most notably Ti West(House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), each directing a different segment of the film. It follows a group of snuff filmmakers who are hired to break into a house to find a VHS tape. But they find a whole ton of them, so they start going through each one, watching them to find out which one is the one they were sent to retrieve. This is how the film displays the various short found-footage films.
Each segment is well done, first off, but the thing that really sets this film apart from all the other found footage films is that it doesn’t bother with the same tired conventions all the other ones have. It doesn’t ever try to convince me that any of it is real. Found-footage films always try to tell audiences that they are real. That only worked for The Blair Witch Project and the 1st Paranormal Activity to a certain extent. It doesn’t work anymore, audiences are smarter than that now, you’re not fooling anyone anymore. This film embraces that, and serves up a showcase of terrific short films done found footage style. And best of all, it has so much fun with it. Most found-footage films try so hard to be serious, and they always end with a black screen with the credits and nothing playing over it. This one had a blasty fun tune playing over the credits. After it was over, me and my friend agreed that we would have loved to have seen even more of these, so I am very glad S-VHS is going to come out later this year. If you’re a fan of horror movies, you will surely enjoy this gem.