V/H/S

Rated R

A group of small-time criminals is hired to break into a house and steal an unusual, frightening video. There, they find a dead body and a trove of videotapes and TVs; as they try to find the specific tape, each of the men puts one in, and we see the bizarre stories that unfold on the screen. The idea behind this film—a series of found-footage short stories forms an anthology—is brilliant, but its execution is horrendous. One or two of the stories work on some level, but the poor acting and terrible writing bury them. The film tries various gimmicks, along with ultra-bloody gore, twists on standard horror-film contrivances and gratuitous nudity, but all are poorly utilized. At 116 minutes, V/H/S goes on far too long; it definitely could have used a re-edit. There are some decent ideas behind this film, though, and hopefully the sequel that’s currently in production can learn from its predecessor’s mistakes.

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