V/H/S

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
V/H/S Movie Poster Image
Spooky anthology horror film has lots of gore, sex, drugs.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 116 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

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 & representations

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

Extremely strong language throughout includes "f--k," "motherf---er," "s--t," "t-ts," "hell," "goddamn," "Jesus" (as an exclamation), "ass," and more.

Consumerism
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.

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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 7 and 15 year old Written byParentReviewz January 2, 2013

V/H/S IS GRAPHIC, GORY AND VERY SCARY - Read Before Renting!

VHS is a horror anthology consisting of 5 Short Horror Stories and One Main Plot That The Tapes Revolve Around. Here is a summary of those, TAPE 56 (MAIN PLOT... Continue reading
Parent of a 3, 3, and 5 year old Written byjonallypugliese1023 November 1, 2013

great movie

I would watch this with my kids when they get older my husband and I love horror movies I really like this movie want to see the second one
Teen, 14 years old Written bybobster173 October 14, 2012

Decent, but Extremely Off Limits for Kids

The movie itself is not that great, and its completely innapropriate for kids.
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 October 6, 2012

Will do to found footage what Jaws did to water.

Wow.This is some hardcore stuff.I have not seen something as visceral and nightmarish as this in a long while.This year,we have hit the jackpot for horror movie... Continue reading

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.

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.

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?

  • Is the movie scarier because it's shown from the point of view of video cameras? How is this different from an ordinary horror movie?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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