Synopsis: five unrelated found footage horror shorts tenuously connected by a sixth story. The “glue” holding the short stories together sees a group of no-good-niks get hired to break into a stranger’s home and steal a VHS tape. Retro, non? Their search for the tape is the mechanism which allows us to see the five aforementioned stories.
What can I say? I feel like I should preface this by explaining that I’m a big horror fan. But I’ll be the first to admit that there’s probably more bad out there than good and unfortunately this is bad. Very bad. I’ve learnt to have low expectations of the genre (for the most part) in terms of character development, witty dialogue and production values but even with this in mind, this is a really poor effort.
The story used to tie the five short films together is a total nonsense, and seems like a clumsy attempt at creating an original way to present a group of otherwise disparate tales. This is essentially an old-school campfire tales deal, and in my opinion, it might have worked better without the half-arsed attempt at presenting it differently. This wrap-around story adds no value, it isn’t clever or funny or scary and the characters are deeply unlikable. Not really a problem in this context, but why do we really need to see them at all?
I don’t want to waste your time by providing a run down of the content of each of the stories, you can get that elsewhere online, I’ll just say that the final two might be worth a look if you didn’t have to endure the rest of this dreadfully turgid affair in order to get to them.
All in all with such naff dialogue, bottom of the barrel acting and camera work shakier than Nick Clegg’s future election prospects I find it hard to find anything positive to say about this. Not only that, insult is heaped upon injury when you realise the indefensible running time of 1 hr 56 minutes. As far as I’m concerned, you need a compelling story, good acting and engaging dialogue to justify being anywhere near the 2 hour mark. This does not meet any of those criteria. What a massive snore.
Final thoughts: AVOID! Instead go for a prostate test/smear test/root canal. I can assure you it will be more fun.
Running time: 1 hr 56 minutes
Directed by: Ti West, Adam Wingard, Justin Martinez and seven others (yes, seven)
Starring: nobody you’d know