Movie Review: V/H/S/94 (2021)

A Shudder original film, and a prequel and/or reboot of the V/H/S franchise, V/H/S/94 is a horror anthology film released in 2021. As a SWAT team raids a mysterious cult’s bloodied warehouse, they find and play various VHS tapes spanning science fiction body horror, classic stories of death and what comes after, the hunt for local urban legends, and the follies of humanity against the supernatural. The directors for the films segments include Jennifer Reeder, Chloe Okuno, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto and Ryan Prows.

+ the wraparound/framing narrative, “Holy Hell” (directed by Jennifer Reeder) initially shows promise but absolutely fumbles the finish. It’s hard to fairly judge the ‘between story’ of an anthology, but it starts well and shows promise, but the ending actually makes sense, even if I don’t like it. So overall it gets a positive
+ the first part of the anthology, “Storm Drain” (directed by Chloe Okuno), starts off cliched and predictable, but soon turns into something a bit different ends on a high note. Holly Marciano (Anna Hopkins, Arrow, The Expanse) was the main character of this, and a highlight of the film overall
+ the third segment, “The Subject” (directed by long time favourite Timo Tjahjanto) is the film’s high point, and I want an entire film about this concept. This is probably the most violent of the shorts in terms of blood and guts, often sometimes feeling more like a video game than a horror movie, but I have no doubt that was the desired effect. This was great

– segment two, “The Empty Wake” (directed by Simon Barrett) has a few good moments, but overall is just too ’empty’, hilarious pun fully intended. Not enough happens, there are too many unanswered questions, and none of the acting/voice work stands out as anything special
– the final segment, “Terror” (directed by Ryan Prows) did very little for me at all. It’s basically racism, terrorism and rednecks with a supernatural twist, and I just didn’t care for it. The twist gives it self away far too quickly, and a fun idea is quickly ruined by some wonky effects. It’s lucky this was the last one, or maybe I’d have not bothered watching the rest of the movie

> please just let Timo Tjahjanto, either individually or as part of the Mo Brothers with Kimo Stamboel, just do an anthology movie/series himself. I don’t think there is a single thing Tjahjanto has ever been involved in that I am not a huge fan of
> also note that the screenshots are intentionally low quality, as they are meant to be VHS tapes

Should you see this film: Leaving aside the expected and then actual disparity between the various segments, this was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the first and third sequences the most, but none of them were bad enough to say this isn’t worth watching.

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