Today a friend of mine asked me to watch the trailer for VHS to see what I thought about it. At first I was intrigued because the trailer touted it as one of the Sundance Film Festival's picks. But after seeing the entire trailer (watched it a few times to make sure I didn't miss anything) and after reading more about it online, I'm not sure this film is going to get my money at the box office. (See the trailer for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axravRclWqk)
Bought by Magnolia Pictures for the mere sum of $1 million, VHS's premise seems too weak for my taste. It's about three burglars who are paid to steal a "secret VHS tape" (for those of you who don't know, VHS tapes came before DVDs). While the burglary is in progress, they don't know which unlabeled tape is the correct one, so they start viewing them one by one. Each tape contains footage of paranormal events, each one more grisly than the previous and we, the audience, get to watch the gore along with them.
Just like the bullshit media campaign when The Blair Witch Project was being released ("...Based on true events..."), VHS now has its own hype-filled cross-promotion. When doing a Google search for the movie title, you'll find headlines like this: "The horror movie so terrifying it made the audiences SICK!" "Ambulances called to screening at the Sundance Festival!" "Film producers insist they had to call ambulances and it wasn't staged!" Yeah, right. Okay, so I'm bitter because I fell for the Blair Witch campaign and still want it to be true. But I didn't fall for Paranormal Activity's true story claim and I'm certainly not going to fall for these ridiculous headlines.
Sounding to me like a mash-up (mixed tape? ha ha) of The Ring, The Blair Witch Project, and Paranormal Activity, I can't get too excited about VHS. I think it's a low-budget indie that was made for shock value with the hope of cashing in big. I'll wait for it to show up in my Netflix queue. And I'm sure that'll be sooner, rather than later.
No jumpers for this waste of film.