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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bad things happen to both good and bad people; it's just random horror. Nobody becomes a better person, and no lessons are learned.
Positive Role Models
Some characters seem to be good at the beginning of their stories, but usually they're punished and/or killed along with the bad people. Characters aren't on screen enough to exhibit any behavior that teens might want to emulate.
Violence & Scariness
A girl turns into a monster and attacks a roomful of young men. Though much of the biting and slashing takes place off screen, some of it is visible, and the bloody aftermath is shown in full view. A character is stabbed in the throat with a knife (complete with gurgling blood). An arm is broken, with bone protruding. A girl digs around in her forearm with a sharp instrument while trying to remove a foreign object. And lots more stabbing, slicing, dead bodies, severed body parts, blood, and gore. Also vandalism.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several young men bring two drunken women back to their hotel room with the express purpose of having sex. One woman passes out in the midst of foreplay, and one of the men starts to have sex with the other; it's interrupted when she turns into a murderous beast. The vampire girl is shown almost fully naked. Viewers also see clips from a homemade sex tape that's been recorded over, with nudity. (The woman doesn't know she's being filmed.) A team of pranksters pulls a girl's top off and films it for posting on the Internet. One breast is shown several times. A married couple tries to seduce each other in a hotel room. Also other examples of topless females, naked male behinds, and strong innuendo.
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Extremely strong language throughout includes "f--k," "motherf---er," "s--t," "t-ts," "hell," "goddamn," "Jesus" (as an exclamation), "ass," and more.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In one of the segments a group of young men and women gets seriously drunk and also snorts some cocaine. In another segment, young people smoke pot. It appears that these characters are mostly in their early twenties, not teens.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
But the spirit is willing, and all six segments come up with some genuinely spooky ideas. And, unlike many horror anthologies, the quality is consistent. No one segment is noticeably better or worse than the others, though the terrific director Ti West (The Innkeepers) seems more focused on characters in his segment, "Second Honeymoon." And the visual effects in the last segment, "10/31/98," are very impressive, especially in contrast to the grungy video imagery.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.