Directed by Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg & Ti West
What a vile collection of immature, often misogynistic and mostly boring found-footage experiments. Conceived and curated by Brad Miska (Bloody Disgusting editor) and Simon Barrett (Frankenfish), V/H/S is an anthology film that, with a few exceptions, represents a hateful and exploitative subset of modern horror. Let's call it "frat leer"; if demonizing female sexuality and repeatedly showing casual depictions of sexual assault are meant to be read as critical and self-aware, neither comes across in the work or in any of the numerous interviews littered throughout the disc's special features with the various writers, directors and producers responsible for this nostalgic garbage. A common theme that does emerge as intentional is the invasiveness of forced voyeurism. Each segment involves male characters pushing their lascivious desires upon women, whether via outright assault, as in hooligan wraparound segment Tape 56, or in a more insidious manner — the coaxing of an uncomfortable girlfriend, in Ti West's bland, derivative Second Honeymoon. Of all the segments, I Sell the Dead director Glen McQuaid's Tuesday the 17th is the most interesting and least irritating, mixing a solid found-footage horror concept with relatively realistic personalities, though it's still hampered by a very wooden performance by newcomer Nora C. Quinones. The most harmless of the batch is closing segment 10/31/98, a mildly comical, unwitting haunted house story from a group of directors who insist on being billed as Radio Silence. As pretentious as their moniker is, in the interviews that comprise most of the special features, the two representatives from Radio Silence come across as the most thoughtful and least self-serious of all the horny pricks and gore-hounds who came together to make this unpleasant assortment of missed opportunities. In addition to the interviews, each segment has associated bonus content, from deleted and alternate scenes to behind-the-scenes footage (The Signal director Dave Bruckner seems to have signed on mostly for the opportunity to launch a camera into the air with giant balloons) and yet more interviews. If all that pointless banter hasn't made you want to drown yourself in a pool of your own urine, there's a cheap promo and a cast and crew commentary that reiterates the juvenile, myopic, defensive views of most of the people involved.
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