V/H/S – Toronto After Dark 2012 Summer Screenings


The headliner of the Toronto After Dark summer screenings was undoubtedly the Canadian premiere of this found-footage anthology horror film that sold out the Bloor Cinema with 700+ in attendance.

The film features five segments, and a framing story, each directed by a different indie horror director.  The framing story, directed by Adam Wingard (You're Next), has a group of five hooligans breaking into a house to find a VHS tape.  The problem is that they end up finding a whole pile of said tapes and one-by-one, they begin to watch the horror contained within.

Each of the tapes featured a different subgenre of horror:

  • The first segement, directed by David Bruckner (The Signal), involves a group of guys picking up a woman that isn't what she seems.
  • The second segment, directed by Ti West (The Innkeepers), involves a stranger invading a vacationing couple at night.
  • The third segment, directed by Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), is a slasher film with a ghostly twist.
  • The fourth segment, directed by Joe Swanberg (Silver Bullets), is a ghost story told with webcams.
  • Finally the fifth (and best) segment, directed by the collective Radio Silence, is a haunted house tale.
For the most part, I would have to say that I enjoyed .  However, I have to say that this film was one of the worst offenders I've seen of “shaky camera syndrome” and I ended up feeling quite nauseated by the film.  The worst offenders were the framing story and the third segment and I have to say that it was hard to properly enjoy the film when I was preoccupied with how sick I was feeling.
That said, I still found quite a lot to like about this film.  My personal favourite segments of the film are the fourth and fifth segment.  I thought that the use of webcams in the fourth segment was the most clever use of the found-footage premise and the story also features, in my opinion, the best plot twist of the five.
After the screening, the best raves were being directed towards the final segment and I couldn't agree more.  It definitely has the best special effects of the film and not even the Paranormal Activity films features this much ghostly action.  Was definitely a great way to finish off the film.
Overall, while I don't necessarily believe that it was the terrifying frightfest that it was hyped up to be, I still quite enjoyed V/H/S, despite the nausea.

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.