A gang of foul mouth thugs break into a house to steal a videotape but find that they have entered a nightmare (captured on the titular format) in this hodgepodge horror that enlists 6 directors to tell a slew of scary stories.
The film opens with our group watching their latest exploits on videotape. Turns out these ‘goons for hire’ enjoy taping their crimes and watching the footage later. They also abuse the format in other ways by trying to catch young ladies in compromising positions. Suffice to say they are a pretty lame bunch who are easily talked into invading a home to find a mysterious tape labeled,56.
The home appears empty ,unless you count the dead guy who expired in front of a bank of televisions . The group decides to ignore the stiff(I did mention they were kind of dim right?)and split up to search the home for tape 56. Every blank tape could be it so one dope elects to watch them all during the search.
The tapes are all first person accounts of strange phenomena and terrifying experiences that were captured on video but never seen until now.
The first story involves three guys who uses a pair of spy cam glasses to record a drunken excursion into town. They meet a few women and take them back to a hotel for an impromptu party but things go very wrong .
Next we get a couple on vacation who are recording the sights. After they retire for the night someone else picks up the camera and creeps around their hotel room committing acts of vandalism while the couple rests . This one will get under your skin and make you think twice about ever using the same toothbrush twice on vacation.
The third tape centers on some unlikeable young people who go to a lake. While it is no surprise that the lake was the site of an unsolved murder rampage this one packs a small shick when it turns out one of the group is a bit of a liar.
Tape four was my favorite and centered on a long distance relationship . The couple use Skype to stay in touch and see each other. The young lady reports that she thinks her apartment is haunted and we witness several of these events as the pair chat and try to solve the mystery. This one packs a sinister finish that you won’t see coming.
The final story finds a quartet of guys looking for a Halloween party. They find the house but it appears deserted except for the occult ritual being performed in the attic. Our group turns out to be somewhat brave and venture back into the house to rescue a woman who was bound up but maybe they should have stuck with the “every man for himself” philosophy.
This an interesting experiment that should have put the “found footage” horror genre to bed. Instead it birthed a sequel. The stories are hit or miss but most horror fans should find something to enjoy here. My only complaint is that they go for naturalistic dialogue and so I learned that the English Language has devolved to such a state that the F-Bomb is an all purpose word used to punctuate every other sentence. That said some of the twists are cool but I got dizzy from all of that shaky camera work.
Best line: “He said nobody died in my apartment. Ever!”
2012, rated R.