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Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
Produced by
Starringsee below
Edited by
  • David Bruckner
  • Glenn McQuaid
  • Ti West
  • Simon Barrett
  • Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
  • Tyler Gillett
Music byLucas Clyde
Distributed byMagnet Releasing
Release dates
  • January 22, 2012 (2012-01-22) (Sundance)
  • October 5, 2012 (2012-10-05) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.9 million[2]

V/H/S is a 2012 American found footage horror anthology film and the first installment in the V/H/S franchise created by Brad Miska[3] and Bloody Disgusting and produced by Miska and Roxanne Benjamin.[4] It features a series of found footage shorts written and directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and the filmmaking collective Radio Silence.[5]

The film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in January 2012,[6] and was released on demand on August 31, 2012. The film made its limited theatrical premiere in the United States on October 5, 2012, and in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2013.

The film spawned five sequels, V/H/S/2, V/H/S: Viral, V/H/S/94, V/H/S/99, V/H/S/85 and two spin-offs, Siren and Kids vs. Aliens, as well as a miniseries V/H/S: Video Horror Shorts on Snapchat's Snap Originals platform.[7]


In an interview with IndieWire,[3] producer Brad Miska revealed the process in which they developed V/H/S, which included a "trust-fall" style of filmmaking. All of the relationships came through the long history of Bloody Disgusting.

For "V/H/S", we went to people that I have a relationship with via Bloody Disgusting — a group of trusted filmmakers who we thought would want to take part in this. They pitched us their ideas, then came to us with treatments and scripts. It was like, "If you like this, go do your thing." In terms of the movie itself getting green lit — the storyline that runs through the whole movie was something that we had originally discussed. So we just went with the decided upon streamlined story and just let the filmmakers go do their thing. Which is kind of a reverse of how you're supposed to do a movie like this. You're supposed to do that last. It became a 'fill-in-the-hole' type project. What can we put here? What can we put there? You know, what would amp it up here? So it was a living project. A living film if you will.


The film is presented as an anthology of short horror films, built into a frame narrative which acts as its own short horror film. Each short film is linked together with the concept of found footage (each segment is from the VHS tapes found in the room).

"Tape 56"/frame narrative (Prologue)[edit]

The frame narrative focuses on a criminal gang who film their crimes, which range from vandalism to sexually assaulting women. An anonymous source hires them to break into a house and steal a VHS videotape. The gang accepts, eager to expand their criminal enterprises.

In the house, the criminals find an old man's corpse sitting in front of several televisions. While the others roam the house, Brad stays behind with the corpse to watch a tape left in the VCR.

"Amateur Night"[edit]

  • Directed by David Bruckner
  • Written by David Bruckner and Nicholas Tecosky

Shane, Patrick, and Clint rent a motel room, intending to bring women there for sex. Clint is wearing glasses that have been outfitted with a hidden camera and microphone that will allow them to turn their planned encounter into an amateur porn video. While the three men are bar-hopping, Clint encounters Lily, a mysterious young woman who appears unusually shy and says little other than "I like you."

In addition to Lily, the men also convince another young woman, Lisa, to go to their room. Lisa passes out as Shane attempts to initiate sex, while Patrick discourages him. Lily awkwardly seduces Clint, but Shane comes on to her instead. Clint notices Lily's clawed and scaly feet as she is undressed, but Shane and Patrick are oblivious. Lily pushes Shane onto his back and begins to undress Clint, seemingly initiating a threesome. Overwhelmed, Clint goes to the bathroom. Patrick attempts to take Clint's place, but Lily makes it clear that she dislikes Patrick.

Moments later, Patrick bursts into the bathroom with a large cut on his hand, claiming Lily bit him. When they approach Shane, Lily suddenly sprouts fangs, then attacks and kills Shane. Clint hides in the bathroom while Patrick, armed with a shower curtain rod, returns to the bedroom.

While Clint tries to wake Lisa, Patrick confronts Lily, but she easily subdues him, drinks his blood and rips off his genitals. Clint runs out, but falls down a staircase and breaks his wrist. Lily, her face hideously contorted, catches up to Clint, but instead of attacking, she attempts to perform fellatio. As Clint is unresponsive, Lily starts to cry, and then begins growling angrily.

Clint flees, begging bystanders for help, but he is lifted into the sky by Lily, who has transformed into a winged creature. Lily is revealed to be a succubus on the hunt for a mate. The glasses fall off Clint's face and hit the ground before the footage ends.

"Tape 56" (Interlude 1)[edit]

Back in the frame story, Rox discovers that Brad is missing. The others find hundreds of unmarked VHS tapes in the basement and collect them all to make sure they get the right one. One catches a glimpse of a strange figure wandering off. Rox puts another tape in the VCR and watches it.

"Second Honeymoon"[edit]

  • Directed by Ti West
  • Written by Ti West

Married couple Sam and Stephanie travel to Arizona for their honeymoon, a trip documented by Stephanie. That night, they visit a Wild West-themed attraction known as "Wild West Junction", where Stephanie receives a prediction from a mechanical fortune teller. The prediction claims she will be happily reunited with a loved one, and that she is very trusting and is easily taken advantage of. Sometime later, a strange woman comes to Sam and Stephanie's motel room and awkwardly tries to convince Sam (off camera) to give her a ride the next day.

In the middle of the night, while the couple are asleep, a mysterious figure breaks into the room, turns on the camcorder, and films itself stroking Stephanie's buttocks with a switchblade. The intruder also steals $100 from Sam's wallet and dips his toothbrush in the toilet. The next day, on their way to visit the Grand Canyon, Sam notices the missing money and accuses Stephanie of taking it, but she assures him that she did not. That night, the stranger enters the room again and repeatedly stabs Sam in the neck with the switchblade, filming him as he chokes to death. The camera then shows the killer, the woman from earlier wearing a porcelain mask. She is revealed to be Stephanie's lover. The recording cuts to the two driving away, with Stephanie asking if the footage was erased.

"Tape 56" (Interlude 2)[edit]

Confused by what he has witnessed, Rox fails to notice the corpse's disappearance. In the basement, the others consider making copies of the special tape so they can make extra money.

"Tuesday the 17th"[edit]

Joey, Spider, and Samantha accompany their new friend Wendy on her annual trip to a lake in a nearby forest. Wendy leads the way, mentioning "accidents" that took her friends's lives. When Joey's digital camera pans certain empty areas, glitched images of mutilated bodies appear in the captured footage. After they discover a mutilated pig, Wendy declares everyone will die. Smoking weed by the lake, Wendy explains that this is where a murderer killed many people, but the group laughs it off as a joke.

Spider and Samantha leave for a bathroom break. Samantha is killed by a knife thrown at her face. Spider attempts to run, but is fatally stabbed. The culprit is a figure with its head obscured by tracking errors (identified in the credits as "The Glitch") Back at the lake, Wendy reveals to Joey that she is the only survivor after all her friends were killed at the lake. Wendy reveals that she is using them to bait and kill the murderer. As the two talk, the Glitch walks up behind Joey and slits his throat.

Wendy lures the Glitch into a pit trap, then a bear trap, which briefly halts it. She films the Glitch up close, but it slashes her hand. Wendy flees while recording a warning to stay away from the area. After she finds a dying Joey, the Glitch confronts her before another booby trap impales it. Wendy gloats and walks away, but when she looks back it is gone. It ambushes Wendy, beats her to death with the camera, and disembowels her. Wendy's corpse twitches and shudders violently as the camera glitches out, implying she is turning into a Glitch.

"Tape 56" (Interlude 3)[edit]

In the frame story, the corpse has returned to the room, but Rox is nowhere to be seen. The remaining criminals, Zak and Gary, are confused as to where the others have gone. Gary tells Zak to look through the tapes, to which Zak complies.

"The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger"[edit]

Emily tells her boyfriend James, an aspiring doctor, via video chat about a strange bump on her arm and how it reminds her of an accident she had when she was younger. After showing James around her new apartment, Emily hears noises outside her door. A ghostly, childlike entity rushes into her room and slams the door shut, leading her to believe her apartment is haunted.

After another encounter with the entity, Emily questions her landlord. He claims no children have ever lived in the apartment complex, nor have any people ever died there. During her next chat with James, Emily attempts to cut into the bump on her to find out what it is. James frantically urges her to stop to avoid an infection and promises to check on it when he arrives in a week.

The next night, Emily carries her laptop to have James look out for the entity. Two "ghosts" appear and knock her unconscious as James enters the apartment. The "ghosts," who are actually aliens, watch as James surgically removes a fetus from Emily's torso. They have been using Emily as an incubator for alien/human hybrids. James asks the aliens how much longer they plan to do this to Emily, remarking she may not survive much more of it, and she has noticed the tracking device in her arm. The aliens erase Emily's memory, while James breaks her bones to make it look like an accident.

In their next chat, a badly injured Emily believes that she sustained her injuries after wandering into traffic in a fugue state. She says the doctor James recommended has diagnosed her as schizoaffective and tearfully says that James deserves a better, more normal girlfriend. James assures Emily she is the only person he wants to be with. After their call ends, James begins a new call with a different woman, who also has a bump on her arm and believes he is her boyfriend.

"Tape 56" (Epilogue)[edit]

Both Zak and the corpse are gone. Gary, the only one left, searches upstairs. He finds the decapitated remains of Zak and is attacked by the zombified old man. Fleeing downstairs, he falls and twists his ankle, and is killed by the zombie. In the TV room, the VCR starts the last tape by itself.


On Halloween night 1998, Tyler, Chad, Matt, and Paul head out to a Halloween party but come to the wrong address. Believing they are the first to arrive, the quartet sneaks inside. They begin to experience paranormal phenomena but believe that they are at a haunted house attraction and have fun with them.

In the attic, they find several men gathered around a woman suspended from the rafters, apparent reenacting an exorcism. The boys join the men's chant, which alerts the men to their presence. The men shout angrily before physically assaulting the woman, and some of them are pulled into the darkness by an unseen force. As more violent paranormal phenomena occur, the boys initially flee but go back and try to rescue the girl. They untie her and get her to safety. The house comes to life with poltergeist phenomena, with ghostly arms rising to claim the lives of the woman's captors.

The boys get into their car with the girl and drive away. The car abruptly stops and the girl disappears, reappearing in the street before them and walking away amid a flock of birds. The boys then realize that the car has stopped on train tracks and that the girl they rescued is actually a witch. They try to get out of the car as a train approaches but are unable to start the car or unlock the doors. The train smashes into the car, killing all inside.

During the end credits, clips from Tape 56 are shown.

Alternative ending to "10/31/98"[edit]

A joke ending was shot in one take by Radio Silence, in which the doors are unlocked and the boys get out just before the train smashes into their car. The boys walk away and talk about how much fun they had, and what a crazy night it was. Meanwhile, the train hits the car and it explodes behind them.[8]



Trevor Groth, a programmer of midnight movies at the Sundance Film Festival, said, "I give this all the credit in the world because conceptually it shouldn't have worked for me. Personally, I'm bored by found-footage horror films, which this is. And omnibus attempts rarely work. But this one does. It's terrifying, and very well executed."[5] Horror-Movies.ca reported that two people fainted during the premiere at Sundance.[9]

At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Magnolia Pictures purchased the North American rights to the film for slightly over $1 million.[10] The first theatrical release began in Russia September 7, 2012.[11] Limited theatrical release began October 5, 2012, in the United States. The film was released onto DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download on December 4, 2012. It was released on the titular format of VHS on February 5, 2013.


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 56% of 108 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "An uneven collection of found-footage horror films, V/H/S has some inventive scares but its execution is hit-and-miss."[12] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 54 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[13]

Most reviewers said that they felt the film was too long. Variety noted that "the segments vary in quality and the whole overstays its welcome at nearly two hours. Some trimming (perhaps relegating a weaker episode to a DVD extra) would increase theatrical chances."[14]

Empire gave the film four stars out of five, saying that "the biggest twist is its consistently high quality ... anything goes, and all of it works".[15] The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mildly positive review, stating "Refreshingly, V/H/S promises no more than it delivers, always a plus with genre fare."[10] Fangoria praised the film while remarking that "the mystery of why/how some of this stuff is even on VHS tapes to begin with" was a bit of a leap.[16]

Sean O'Connell of The Washington Post gave the film a scathing review, saying that although "on paper, it's a clever concept" and "probably sounded great in the pitch meeting", it "loses all luster through some shoddy execution". He went on to criticise the "unwatchable shaky-cam technique" and "rough and amateurish" acting, though he did identify Swanberg's segment as the best.[17] Likewise, Roger Ebert was among the critics who felt the film was overlong, giving the film one star out of four and saying that "None of the segments is particularly compelling. Strung together, it's way too much of a muchness."[18]

Sequels and spin-offs[edit]

A sequel, titled V/H/S/2, was debuted at January 19 as part of Sundance 2013. The film was released via VOD on June 6, and theatrically on July 12. A third entry in the series, titled V/H/S: Viral, was released on Video on Demand on October 23, 2014, and in theatres on November 21 of the same year.

A spin-off based on the segment Amateur Night, entitled Siren released theatrically on December 2, 2016.

A 4-episode miniseries V/H/S: Video Horror Shorts was released on Snap Originals on October 28, 2018.[19]

A reboot titled V/H/S/94 was released exclusively on Shudder on October 6, 2021.[20]

The sequel V/H/S/99 debuted in the Midnight Madness stream at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival[21] and was released on Shudder October 20, 2022.[22]

A second spin-off film Kids vs. Aliens, a feature-length adaptation of "Slumber Party Alien Abduction", from Jason Eisener's segment from V/H/S/2 premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2022 and released in January 20, 2023 by RLJE Films and Shudder.

V/H/S/85 was released on Shudder on October 6, 2023.[23]


  1. ^ "V/H/S (18)". British Board of Film Classification. November 6, 2012. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  2. ^ "V/H/S". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Nigel M. (January 22, 2012). "Bloody Disgusting Founder and 'V/H/S' Producer Brad Miska On Why the Found-Footage Movie Is Here To Stay". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Shawhan, Jason (19 April 2012). "Former Nashvillian Roxanne Benjamin fast-forwards to terror with hot-ticket horror anthology V/H/S". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2022-12-20.
  5. ^ a b Breznican, Anthony (December 1, 2011). "Sundance 2012: Midnight Movies highlight the horrible and hilarious". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  6. ^ Schulz, Chris (August 3, 2012). "'Chilling' horror film comes with a warning". New Zealand Herald. NZME Publishing. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  7. ^ "V/H/S horror shorts return, this time on Snapchat | SYFY WIRE". 2018-11-30. Archived from the original on 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  8. ^ Radio Silence (April 2, 2012). ""10/31/98" (Alternate Ending)". Vimeo. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  9. ^ Rother, Simon (July 30, 2012). "V/H/S Movie Review". HorrorMovies.ca. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Lowe, Justin (January 27, 2012). "V/H/S:Sundance Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  11. ^ "V/H/S". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  12. ^ "V/H/S". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 5, 2024. Edit this at Wikidata
  13. ^ "V/H/S". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  14. ^ Harvey, Dennis (January 27, 2012). "V/H/S". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Williams, Owen (January 9, 2013). "V/H/S". Empire. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  16. ^ Pace, Dave (July 18, 2012). "LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH – "V/H/S" REVIEWED". Fangoria. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  17. ^ O'Connell, Sean (October 5, 2012). "V/H/S". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 3, 2012). "V/H/S". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  19. ^ "VHS | Snapchat". Archived from the original on 2022-04-17. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  20. ^ "Shudder Presses Play On V/H/S/94 - Fangoria". 2021-06-16. Archived from the original on 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2023-02-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro, "Toronto Unveils Discovery & Wavelengths Sections; Midnight Madness Opening Includes Roku’s ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’". Deadline Hollywood, August 4, 2022.
  22. ^ "'V/H/S/99' – Shudder Presses Play on Fifth Entry in the Bloody Disgusting-Produced Anthology Franchise from Studio71!". 28 July 2022.
  23. ^ Squires, John (August 23, 2023). "V/H/S/85 Teaser Trailer-Rewind Back to the 1980s on Shudder This October". Bloddy Disgusting. Retrieved August 29, 2023.

External links[edit]