No one would have guessed that, more than a decade after "The Blair Witch Project" broke box-office records to become one the highest grossing independent films of all time, audiences would still flock to found-footage flicks. From the ongoing success of the "Paranormal Activity" movies to the recent strong opening of "The Devil Inside" that caught many by susprise, one thing's for sure — the style is here to stay.
"V/H/S," a 2012 Sundance Midnight Madness selection that earned rave reviews upon its premiere and got picked up by Magnet out of the festival, is one more in that vein. The buzzed-about film's a collective horror effort featuring segments directed by Radio Silence, Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg and Ti West, much like the upcoming "The ABCs of Death." To string all the parts together, "V/H/S" centers on a group of petty criminals hired to retrieve a rare piece of footage from a house filled with strange VHS tapes, which they must scan through individually.
Indiewire's Eric Kohn is a huge fan. "A 21st-century take on "Tales from the Crypt" (and a suggestion of what the upcoming omnibus horror film "ABCs of Death" might offer), "V/H/S" manages to overcome the familiarity associated with its design," he wrote in his review out of Sundance. "The repetition of certain themes, particularly casual behavior that leads to doom, turns the movie into a treatise on the danger involved in failing to look too closely. 'Were you recording that?' a character asks the cameraman in one of the segments when a spooky figure slinks past them. 'No,' comes the reply, 'I just got caught up in the middle of it.' Precisely."
The just-released trailer sure gives a spooky and lurid taste of what's to come with screams galore, some NSFW nudity, and a flying bat out of hell. "V/H/S" hits VOD August 31, before hitting select theaters October 5.