A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that V/H/S is a horror anthology film that's dedicated to the concept of shooting quickly and simply on home video, so almost all of the segments are shown from the point of view of a character with a camera of some sort. There's lots of graphic horror violence, with plenty of slashing, slicing, gore, and dead bodies, as well as spooky stuff. There's also some nudity (breasts, bottoms), sex, and heavy innuendo. Characters also drink heavily, snort cocaine, and smoke pot, and language is very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. There will be no keeping teen horror fans away, but it's recommended for 17 and up.
What's the story?
A group of Internet pranksters is given the task of breaking into an old house and stealing a certain VHS videotape. The robbers pop random tapes into a player and watch five different "stories": A group of partiers attempts to pick up a couple of girls in a bar, only to discover that one of them isn't quite human. A couple on their second honeymoon is visited by a mysterious figure. A group of friends ventures into the woods, where a bizarre killer is known to have struck. A doctor speaks to his new girlfriend over Skype, trying to help her out with her ghost sightings and paranormal happenings. And three friends attend a Halloween party at the wrong house, stumbling into a kind of deadly cult ritual.
Is it any good?
Overall, V/H/S is a unique and effective movie for fans of the genre. Horror anthologies have a long history, stretching back to Waxworks (1923) and reaching a high water mark with Dead of Night (1945). V/H/S seems mainly dedicated to fans who watched these films and many others on muddy old video tapes, or perhaps made their own. The quality in V/H/S is unfailingly low -- intentionally -- with sloppy hand-held camerawork and fuzzy framing. It might even be better to see it at home, rather than on a big screen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about V/H/S' extreme violence. Is a horror movie scarier with lots of blood? What's the impact of showing so much gore?
How much of the sex in this movie is violent in nature? Is there any case where sex or sexual situations occur between a loving couple? What does the movie have to say about this subject?
In the first segment, why do the characters get so completely drunk before attempting intimacy? What message does that send?
- In theaters: October 5, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: December 4, 2012
- Cast: Hannah Fierman, Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal
- Directors: David Bruckner, Ti West
- Studio: Magnet Releasing
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
For kids who love scares
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.