Some anthology films have the innate capacity to withstand the occasional subpar self-contained segment without souring the film’s overall experience. A movie like V/H/S, a gathering of found-footage horror shorts from buzz-worthy names in independent film, feels more like a cinematic experiment or a test in storytelling than a true feature film, so viewing it becomes more about seeing how each director (Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and the online film collective Radio Silence) responds to the challenge rather than how the segments come together as a whole. Some of the film’s pieces don’t shine as brightly as others, yet it doesn’t change the fact that watching V/H/S is a gruesome and twisted blast.
Aside from their surface-level similarities (namely, being horror stories told through POV found footage), the segments are loosely tied together by a thin plot involving a gang of low-life criminals hired to steal a mysterious videotape from a spooky, rundown house. All they’re told is that they’ll recognize the desired footage when they see it, so the group begins watching a pile of VHS tapes one by one, witnessing an array of horrific and unnatural events as caught on video.