I feel it’s time to sound the death knell for the latest round of found-footage horror. The anthology “V/H/S” might be a good stopping point.
Since “Paranormal Activity” and subsequent sequels have made a boatload of money (and since these films can be made seriously cheaply), it may never end.
“V/H/S” boasts both the good and the bad of the shaky-cam “pretend this really happened” corner of horror — and of anthologies.
Six different vignettes by different directors are loosely tied together around a series of found VHS tapes (remember those, kids?). They run the gamut of horror staples — ghost stories, demons, monsters, killer in the woods, etc.
The best part of the anthology format is that the occasionally dull setup period of these films is shortened. You get to the scary stuff — if this stuff still scares you — faster and more often.
The visceral thrills of grainy handheld footage remain cheap but effective, even if this snuff film stuff is getting terribly worn.
And, of course, you have to get through the setup. Another thing these films don’t spend a lot on is great actors, and the “why are you still filming this?” disbelief is sometimes tough to lift.
It’s hit-and-miss, but “V/H/S” is a fine sampler of a genre I hope gets erased soon.