Film Comment Back Issues 728x90 Film Society of Lincoln Center

Short Takes: V/H/S

By Chris Chang

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V/H/S SXWS favorite

Skyping with a cute girl while she removes her shirt can be a turn-on. Doing so while she surgically mutilates herself—not so much (for most people). Both situations occur in “The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger,” one of the five segments in V/H/S, “the horror omnibus of the VOD moment.” (Note instant marquee quote.)

The wraparound involves four jackasses hired to retrieve a mysterious videocassette from the house of a dead guy, who’s still there, sitting in his favorite chair. Never mind him: which tape is it and what the devil is on it? Let’s pop one in the player and segue to, e.g., “Amateur Night,” in which we meet, how bizarre, three brand-new jackasses. While experimenting with a portable spy camera the trio get more footage than they bargain for when they pick up two girls (one hottie, one psychotic). Viewers will see all manner of badness coming, but the fact that the dudes are clueless, and the climax so over the top, just makes that badness better.

Can a horror anthology—in this case, one that was made by nine directors (!)—ever add up to a completely satisfying whole? Let me rephrase that: is it possible for a group of jackasses to make it through a horror film without at least one of them dying in some horrible jackass manner? Hmmmm...

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