V/H/S (2012)

Sample dialogue: “Fuck” “What the fuck” “Shut the fuck up” “Fuuuck”

I still think Betamax would be a catchier and scarier title (though I enjoy saying “I watched V/H/S on DVD”). This is a world where “online” exists, as do digital cameras, even tiny digital HD cameras with mics that hide invisibly in a pair of eyeglasses. So how come the movie opens with a bunch of miscreants filming their dirty deeds on VHS cameras? Since the kids have more than one VHS camera, the movie thinks it can edit as rapidly between angles as it wants (though not as rapidly as the sick-inducing trailer). These miscreants, clearly valued for their experience with analog cassette technology, are then hired to break into an old dude’s house and steal his special VHS tape. Each time a lone kid “finds” the tape (it was in the VCR, dummies) and watches a segment, he winds up missing. Fortunately once we’re through the stupid framing story (by Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the duo behind A Horrible Way to Die) there’s less rapid editing in the single-camera stories within.

Unexplained why the camera-glasses sometimes show text reversed:

Amateur Night
Clint wears his videoglasses out to the bar with buddies Shane and Patrick and they pick up a couple girls and go to a hotel. Lisa passes out and the guys reluctantly decide not to rape her, so they aim their attention at large-eyed Lily, who has only ever said “I like you” quietly to Clint all night long. It’s unclear how/if she and Lisa were friends, since Lily turns out to be a hellbeast who kills them all, but not before Clint falls down the stairs and breaks his bones trying to escape. Written/directed by one of the guys who made The Signal

Yay, East Atlanta:

Second Honeymoon
Stupid couple Joe Swanberg and “Stephanie” are on a road trip, taking a vacation video which plays like an actual vacation video. This is a compliment to realism but an insult to cinema. While they sleep, a drifter girl breaks in and films them sleeping, which is honestly creepy. Then more vacation video. Then the girl again, but this time she straight-up kills Joe Swanberg. Turns out the girl (Kate Lyn Sheil of Impolex) and “Stephanie” knew each other, and this was a terrible plot to kill him and escape together. Writer/director Ti West also made The Innkeepers and House of the Devil, and I might be finished watching his movies.

Hotel intruder:

Tuesday The 17th
Ooh, a good segment for once, by Glenn McQuaid (I Sell The Dead). Wendy with traumatic past returns to wooded scene of horrible murders with three friends – but they’re not very good friends, and she invited them as bait to the killer, who appears as a red-stocking-headed glitch on her videocamera. “Why can’t I film you?” she asks, but it never explains if she can see him with the camera lowered. The camera also sees dead people, presumably from her last voyage to this spot, making this the only segment that uses the handheld camera for something interesting (the other stories would be no different if their characters had no cameras at all).

Digi-glitch-monster hovers over a victim:

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
Guy witnesses his girlfriend’s haunted house in their nightly video calls. She seems to be going nuts, seeing little people (we see them too) and digging in her arm with knives looking for foreign objects. Turns out the “boyfriend” is setting her up, has implanted a tracking device in her arm and is letting aliens lay eggs in her, or something. Directed by Swanberg, written by Simon Barrett (A Horrible Way to Die).

Another good one, written/directed/starring five guys who walk into a seemingly empty house looking for a halloween party, finally stumbling upon some attic ritual where rednecks have got a girl tied up. After some pretty awesome supernatural stuff happens, they rescue the girl, who proceeds to unleash supernatural stuff upon the survivors (then she gets their car stuck in front of a train). Didn’t recognize any Atlanta scenery, but someone is told to take Spring street.