Tonight I scoped out the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery on Pine Street in Burlington for the annual Art of Horror show opening. Awesome art—some really chilling pieces and some really fun ones. Then I came home and scoped out the 2012 anthology flick V/H/S. I’m pretty torn on this one. Six stories were crammed into two hours. I felt that the pacing was really uneven throughout. The Ti West segment “Second Honeymoon” (and I loved The Innkeepers and House of the Devil) was 85% boring build up, 5% holy shit I haven’t been freaked out like that since that scene in Paranormal Activity where she’s just standing by his bedside watching him sleep, and 10% mediocre gore. When I watch a really good shaky-cam film (Cloverfield, Blair Witch) I forget I’m watching shaky cam. This NEVER let me forget it.
My biggest issue, though, was the characters. They were all awful. All terrible people. The men were douchebags with no respect for women, and with very few exceptions, the women were two-faced and evil. It felt very misogynistic and it was uncomfortable to keep watching men treat women like trash.
I enjoyed Joe Swanberg’s “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger”—gave me flashbacks to talking with Steve over Skype when I was in South Korea. I’ve often thought that being on the phone, or worse, Skype with the video, while something awful happened would be one of the worst things ever. This takes that fear and bumps it up a notch. I also really liked Glenn McQuaid’s “Tuesday the 17th”—a play on Friday the 13th about some kids in the woods.
The directors did some neat stuff to justify the existence of the cameras. In the frame story “Tape 56”, “Second Honeymoon”, and “Tuesday the 17th” characters carried handheld cameras. I bought it in “Second Honeymoon” but not so much in the other two. In “Amateur Night” a guy wore a pair of glasses with the camera embedded in them, and when shit got real just sort of forgot they were there. Similarly, in “10/31/98” a dude was dressed as a teddy bear with a nanny cam embedded in the chest. For “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” the characters are communicating with Skype, so that made perfect sense.
Like I said, I’m torn. There’s some good stuff here and some mediocre stuff. I wish we’d had more characters we could root for and invest in. Worth watching? Sure, if only as discussion fodder.