Introducing the fifth instalment within the V/H/S series. The year is 1999, and audiences will witness five new horrifying stories from one VHS tape. For those who are not aware, the V/H/S franchise is filled with various short horror films that are loosely connected together. Each story differs from the other and has been filmed as well as written by different people, making each story a nice and unpredictable surprise. In this edition of the V/H/S series, we meet a variety of people, including a young, punk rock band and a young woman who will stop at nothing to become famous on social media.
Just as opinions about horror films generally differ, the same could be said with each story presented throughout this feature. Some stories are hit and miss. However, V/H/S once again nails the fun, retro vibes and it includes fun visuals such as tracking effects, cheesy commercials and strange cuts and edits. All these editing choices strongly convince viewers that they are watching a lost videotape. Some short films do have strong visual elements, such as costumes. The effects relating to gore and violence are also satisfying, especially if you enjoy the genre of torture porn.
While I’ve always been a supporting fan of the V/H/S series for its concept, randomness, and fun horror, I am quite saddened to say this newest instalment is a major misfire within the series. The vast majority of this film and its stories are quite saddening, depressing and even lack excitement. By the time the final story began, I felt exhausted from watching stories that felt repetitive and disappointed me. Each story I invested in had an ending that felt either vague, rushed or poorly concluded, and my dissatisfaction only grew with each story. In a nutshell, while the V/H/S series has always delivered great concepts and joy, this one felt extremely rushed and lacked freshness.
Overall, while I’ve always had this franchise in a special place in my heart, this one is a significant misfire. While visuals and the V/H/S retro vibes hit strongly once again, the film fails to deliver short stories that hit strongly with creativity. Instead, each story has similarities to the other, and in many instances, the films are just sad and downright depressing. Fans of torture porn will find aspects that are pleasing, but in the end, it all feels rushed, and I could not wait to eject this tape, rewind it and return it. V/H/S/99 (2022) is Available on Shudder from October 20th.