Movie Review: V/H/S/99 (2022)

A Shudder original horror anthology, and the fifth entry in the V/H/S franchise, V/H/S/99 was released in 2022, and features five short films: “Shredding” (written and directed by Maggie Levin) about a punk band who head to the site where their favourite band was killed in an accident three years earlier; “Suicide Bid” (written and directed by Johannes Roberts) about Lily (Ally Ioannides) who only wants to join a single sorority, but to do so must spend the night in a coffin; “Ozzy’s Dungeon” (written by Zoe Cooper and Flying Lotus, and directed by Flying Lotus) about a former game show host (Steven Ogg) who is kidnapped by former competitors who feel they were screwed out of the grand prize; “The Gawkers” (written by Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre, and directed by MacIntyre), where a group of teenage boys perv on their new neighbour, Sandra (Emily Sweet); “To Hell and Back” (written and directed by Vanessa and Joseph Winter), where a camera crew, Troy and Nate (Joseph Winter and Archelaus Cristanto, respectively) document an occult ritual find themselves literally going through hell.

+ “Suicide Bid” was probably my overall favourite, but some cheap looking scares in the final moments did hamper it from being an all time great anthology segment – it reminded me of something you’d get at the end of a ~3 minute horror short on YouTube rather than a proper feature film. I also appreciated the easy way the audience can see inside the coffin; Lily is simply given a camera to record her night by the sorority sisters. Everything up until the ending had it on track for that greatness, so of course overall this was a strong positive section
+ “Ozzy’s Dungeon” was clever, but really could have used a few more minutes. The central premise reminded me of the show A*mazing, here in Australia (and I’m sure a million other variants from around the world). I get the feeling this may have originally been written as a full feature length movie, because this being shot as a home movie didn’t really make much sense, or at least felt somewhat convoluted
+ “The Gawkers” was not the best overall segment, but it did leave the biggest impression on me. The acting was enjoyable and somewhat realistic, but it was the twist ending that left me the most disappointed – not in the segment but in myself, because the twist is set up so well and is so obvious in hindsight, but I never once put it together in my head until after the fact. This was also probably the segment most shot like a home movie, as I don’t think all of the teens ever appeared on the camera at the same time (since someone was obviously handling it)

– “Shredding” didn’t really do it for me, as it felt like far to common and worn out a theme, and it set up a few plot points that I felt didn’t pay off in any meaningful way. This was a disappointing way to start the movie
– “To Hell and Back” was really awkward, and didn’t quite fit in with the other segments. The main hook was one of my most hated movie tropes (and life tropes in general), and it didn’t make me tense or concerned, just annoyed with one character in particular. It is one of my most hated tropes where someone in a situation where they have to be quiet acts all arrogant and thinks that *now* is the best time to air dirty laundry. It just makes me roll my eyes more than anything else

> instead of a wraparound story, which have been very hit or miss in the past entries, there are a series of stop motion segments ‘performed’ by toy soldiers. I enjoyed them as little breaks between the entries

Should you see this film: Truthfully, I did not enjoy this as much as I was hoping to; in fact, I think I enjoyed V/H/S/94 more than this. I was surprised there was not more ‘fear of Y2K’ in the stories, and all of them had some aspect that made me like the shorts less than I would have otherwise. All anthologies are somewhat up and down, and this felt pretty much even.

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