Saturday, 3 March 2012

Incoming - V/H/S, Skew

Both of these are kicking up a bit of interest for different reasons: V/H/S because it's a collaborative effort helmed by (at least) six directors with pretty respectable credentials; and Skew because it won quite a few awards last year, which shames me slightly because I only stumbled across it a couple of days ago. They're also probing some of the more interesting possibilities of the found footage subgenre, which is always nice.

Tabloid-baiting tales of  viewers collapsing in terror at screenings aside, V/H/S should catch attention for its directing crew alone. Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die), David Bruckner (The Signal), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), Joe Swanberg (Silver Bullets) and Radio Silence (the three-man team behind several acclaimed shorts) helm this found footage anthology, and Simon Barrett (Dead Birds) is also on the writing team.

In the tradition of the horror anthology, there's a single wrapper that ties all the stories together: an eccentric gang of criminals are hired to break into a deserted house and retrieve a videotape. There they find a dead body and more than one videotape, so they decide to put them on for shits and lols, providing the frame for the films-within-a-film format. The tapes range from a creature feature to a slasher-in-the-woods yarn, revisiting the story of the misfits in the house in between each one.

I love a good anthology, I love a good found footage flick and I love many of this team (admittedly I'd never heard of Radio Silence, hated I Sell the Dead and haven't seen Silver Bullets, but whatevs), so I'm reasonably pumped about this setup. It's been picked up by Momentum Pictures for UK distribution, says Screen Daily, so hopefully it'll be hitting a festival or two soonish.

Skew takes a different tack with a superficially more traditional friends-on-a-road-trip-videotaping-their-larks plot, but again looks like it's handling the subgenre in a fresh way. Three people off to attend a friend's wedding have their buzz killed when cameraman Simon complains that people's faces keep looking "all fuzzy and fucked up ... and then they die!" As the bodycount rises, Simon becomes more unhinged and soon the carefree jaunt turns into a nightmare.

It doesn't look too mind-blowing from the trailer below, but more than a few critics have been praising it as an original and intelligent found footager, so I'm guessing the approach is a bit more intricate than "evil camera what kills people". Add to that a slew of awards (from A Night of Horror in Australia, Fear Fete in Louisiana and Urban Suburban in Philadelphia) and writer/director Sevé Schelenz's debut looks well worth keeping on the radar. It's been on Netflix in the US for quite a while now, but apparently the UK'll have to wait until it premieres on the Horror Channel later this year.

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