V/H/S is a 2012 Found Footageanthology film directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and Radio Silence.A group of hoodlums are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape. Upon arriving, they discover the dead body of the owner and stacks of videotapes. As they search for the right one, they are treated to a seemingly endless number of horrifying videos, each stranger than the last.
Tape 56: The frame story.
Amateur Night: Three college guys plan on videotaping their sexual encounters and get more than they bargained for when they pick up a strange woman from the bar.
Second Honeymoon: A couple on a road trip are stalked by a mysterious stranger.
Tuesday the 17th: A group of twenty-somethings party in the woods and are stalked by an entity that can only be viewed via videorecorder.
The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger: A girl talking with her boyfriend via webcam believes that she is being plagued by paranormal phenomenon.
10/31/98: A foursome heads to a Halloween party only to find out that the house hosting it is abandoned.
A sequel titled V/H/S/2 was made in 2013, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. It features shorts from Gareth Evans & Timo Tjahjanto, Eduardo Sanchez & Gregg Hale, Jason Eisener, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. Watch the teaser trailer here.
This movie provides examples of the following:
A Man Is Always Eager: Defied like hell by both Clint in "Amateur Night" and Joey in "Tuesday the 17th" - both are put-off by the circumstances (Clint's broken arm and recently-murdered friends and Joey being told a very flimsy excuse about the absence of their friends before being propositioned.).
Abhorrent Admirer: Lily from "Amateur Night" is fairly cute, if slightly creepy - when she transforms, not so much.
Alien Abduction: Strongly implied to be the cause of the events in "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger", coupled with Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, given that James removes what looks to be a fetus from Emily's torso, just below the ribs.
All Part of the Show: The initial reaction of the protagonists in "10/31/98" when they stumble upon an exorcism in the attic, gleefully chanting "Cast him down!" - until they see the woman get smacked hard.
All There in the Manual: The audio commentary for "Tuesday the 17th" reveals a bit more about the nature of the Glitch, such as the fact that people killed by it become Glitch monsters themselves.
Asshole Victim: While some of the characters in the vignettes fit, the ones in "Tape 56" take the cake. They're a bunch of thugs who spend their time vandalizing houses and forcibly pulling up girl's tops.
Back from the Dead: The dead man found by the group in "Tape 56", though we don't learn how.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Wendy in "Tuesday the 17th". Also James from "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger". But the crowning example would be Stephanie from "Second Honeymoon"
Body Horror: In ''Amateur Night" Lily starts out with scales on her feet, which only Clint notices, and as things get worse she gets a strange maw-like crease down her face. At the end she goes outright One-Winged Angel. This is also the subject of "The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger"; at first Emily gets a small bump on her arm, which she suspects is from bruising. Later she digs inside her arm with a scalpel and a kitchen skewer after suspecting something in there. But the crowning moment has to be the reveal that she's pregnant with an alien spawn... and it's heavily implied this isn't the first time.
Book Ends: "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" opens with a webcam chat between the title character and James, in which Emily complains about her arm and undresses for the camera. At the end, James switches to a different chat and has almost exactly the same conversation with a different girl, revealing that Emily isn't the only one who has experienced this. Also an example of Here We Go Again.
Bystander Syndrome: In "Amateur Night", the hotel clerks don't let in a man with an obviously broken arm, condemning him to his fate.
Camera Abuse: Every story ends with the camera operator murdered, and in a few the camera definitely gets destroyed (leading one to wonder how the old man got the tapes). In "Tuesday the 17th" a splash of blood ends up on the camera and remains there for the rest of the segment.
The last shot of "Amateur Night" suggests that the cameraman's camera glasses fall off and hit the ground after Lily swoops down and carries him off.
Cosmic Horror Story: There's certainly implications of this trope at work in most of the stories, most noticably in "10/31/98" and "Tape 56".
Crapsack World: If indeed all the tapes, including the ones from the sequel(s?) take place in the same world then everybody is screwed. You have malevolent aliens, ghosts, monster/ghost/demons that look like digital glitches, succubus, an insane cult that brought a rampaging demon into the world and what looks like a Zombie Apocalypse, an evil corporation (or at least a neglectful one), and psycho lesbians.
Creepy Child: The aliens in "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" look like this.
Cry for the Devil: A more literal example than most, as it seems that Lily, a succubus in disguise, was quite sincere about liking Clint, and actually seems to be suppressing her tendencies to pair up with him. Then Lisa passes out, and Lily gives into her tendencies when Shane presses the issue. The portion in the stairwell is what underscores this most.
Even Evil Has Standards: James from "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" who prevents the children from killing Emily. Possibly subverted in that he may have been doing it for the sake of avoiding unnecessary police attention. But he does show a degree of care for her.
A minor one on "Amateur Night". Shane wasn't outright evil, but his intentions for the night certainly were less than honourable, since the plan was to film the sexual intercourse without the girl's knowledge. But once Lisa falls unconscious in drunken stupor, he stops his attempts with her.
Electromagnetic Ghosts: The killer in "Tuesday the 17th" is invisible and can only show up on tape as interference.
Faking the Dead: The old man in "Tape 56" constantly disappears from his seat, only to show up in the same spot after disposing of the body of whoever was left alone with him.
Fan Disservice: Bare breasts, buttocks, and male and female genitalia. All featured during disturbing pseudo-rape sequences or murders. In particular, there's Lily in "Amateur Night", whom we get to see, fully nude, going down on a guy...after having turned into a monster. She's actually quite hurt that he's terrified rather than aroused. One of the last shots in "Second Honeymoon" is Stephanie, in her bra, making out with her Psycho Lesbian lover... while there is blood all over the latter's hands. Sam's blood.
Fate Worse than Death: Last we see of Clint from "Amateur Night", poor guys being carried off somewhere by Lily, screaming the entire time.
Final Girl: Wendy in "Tuesday the 17th", but it's subverted; she is the one responsible for all the deaths, as she lured her friends up to the mountains to use as bait to catch the killer.
Foreshadowing: In "Second Honeymoon", Stephanie and Sam use an electronic fortune-telling machine, and by the end of the segment, both of their fortunes come true in a twisted way: Sam gets a fortune about someone close to him not being trustworthy, and ends up betrayed and murdered by his wife. Stephanie gets one about having a happy reunion with someone, and she and her girlfriend leave together as Karma Houdinis
The main characters in "10/31/98" have to stop at a railroad crossing on the way to the party. On the return trip, the possessed woman they tried to rescue makes the car stall in the middle of the same railroad crossing, causing them to be hit by the oncoming train.
They also tease one another about people reaching out of the walls when they start to explore the house, and the guy dressed as a teddy bear nanny-cam finds the same torn-up teddy bear in two different rooms.
The dead pig found by the characters in "Tuesday the 17th" has its intestine draped over the ground, just like what happens to Wendy at the end.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Amateur Night", right as Clint approaches Lily and Shane to talk Shane out of having sex with her, there are two long bruises on either side of her spine, foreshadowing her wings coming out at the end to carry Clint off.
Groin Attack: A very horrifying version in "Amateur Night" when Lily rips out all of Patrick's tackle. Thankfully, the guy was dead by this point.
Horny Devils: Lily, the girl from "Amateur Night", is a succubus-type creature.
Humanoid Abomination: Every supernatural foe encountered fits this trope, but Lily and the Glitch stand out in terms of weirdness.
Interface Screw: Strongest in "Tuesday the 17th" as the killer's presence always makes the picture begin to break up, but ultimately used in all of them since non-professional footage almost always includes lag, freezing and pixelization. Noticeable as well in "The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" as they're using video chat, which is notorious for "cubing out". So naturally, it happens to Emily's image a couple of times.
As one reviewer pointed out, the directors used this to their advantage by timing (probable) cuts with when the cassetes glitch, making it far more seamless than it otherwise would be.
Jerkass: Everyone in the movie except for Emily in "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger", and the guys in "10/31/98", who are merely Genre Blind.
Jitter Cam: Throughout. And given what the protagonists of each segment are facing, very, veryjustified.
Let's Split Up, Gang: While it's mostly averted, the protagonists in "Tape 56" fall into this with predictable results.
Karmic Death: Wendy from "Tuesday the 17th" gets gutted by the killer after manipulating her friends into coming up to the mountain as bait to try and capture him. "Amateur Night" ends with two of the guys killed by Lily and one being carried away by her; it's vague what happens to him afterward, but you know it isn't going to be pleasant.
The Loins Sleep Tonight: A completely justified version in "Amateur Night", since Clint's left arm just suffered a compound fracture while trying to flee from Lily, who tries to initiate a blowjob while coated in the blood of his friends.
Meaningful Name: Lily from "Amateur Night" has a name that sounds similar to (and is sometimes used as a diminutive form of) Lilith, which happens to be the name of a mythological succubus.
Mugging the Monster: Well, more like raping the monster, as Patrick in "Amateur Night" is bitten when he tries to initiate a threesome with Lily and Shane. This is pretty much when everybody begins to understand that Lily isn't just drunk or high, and is what sparks her complete transformation into...whatever she is.
Mundanger: "Second Honeymoon" is the only segment, counting the sequel, where there is most probably nothing supernatural going on. The villains are a Psycho Lesbian couple with nothing really abnormal about them aside from being Ax-Crazy.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "10/31/98" the four main characters interrupt an exorcism and "save" the possessed girl, allowing her to go free and kill them all.
Given that they came upon 4 men chanting something weird, surrounding a chained-up girl while one of them held a knife, conclusion-jumping is pretty understandable.
The Nineties: in "10/31/98", two of the four friends go out to the Halloween party dressed as contemporary news items, the Unabomber and the Nanny Cam.
Similarly, the aliens in "The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger".
Nothing Is Scarier: Invoked here and there, but really, much of what happens has no explanation, or very sparse. Even in "Tape 56" the thugs aren't sure what they're looking for, or whose house this is. It's implied they don't even know who hired them. And we have no idea how or why the dead old man comes Back from the Dead.
In full force during "Second Honeymoon", when, after their encounter with a would-be hitch-hiker after dark, said hitch-hiker is in their room, recording them both with their own camera while wielding a switchblade. Nothing happens that night.
Obliviously Evil: Possibly Lily from "Amateur Night" and the aliens from "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger".
Stylistic Suck: It varies, but is most prominent during the wrap-around segment.
Tracking Device: The lump on Emily's arm in the fourth storyline turns out to be one of these.
The Virus: The audio commentary for "Tuesday the 17th" suggests that those killed by the Glitch Monster become Glitch monsters themselves.
Twisted Ankle: In a surprising twist, it happens twice to male horror movie protagonists. Both Clint in "Amateur Night" and Gary in "Tape 56" took a tumble down the stairs running away from the villain in their respective segments.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Lisa's fate in "Amateur Night". It is likely that she survived since it seems that Lily is a succubus-like creature who only shows interest in men, but we have no visual confirmation. After all, she was lying unconscious just a couple of feet away from the creature, so who knows?