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I've been threatening to do this for a while now and I suppose it is time. Despite me swearing that I'd never force myself to sit th...

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

V/H/S/99 (2022)

I know that these anthology movies have been a mixed bag for some folks and that there are a couple of stinkers in the franchise, but I liked the most recent entry so when this showed up on Shudder, I had to take a look. I’m going to tackle each of the segments one at a time in the order that they appear. I’ll start off each bit with the title of the individual story to keep it all organized.

Shredding. The first has us watching a garage band of kids breaking into an underground club that was shut down years before after a terrible accident killed a bunch of folks. Some of them was a band that they liked, or I suppose claim to like. I say that because after they arrive the idiots decide to do some really dumb stuff that angers the ghosts of the band which leads to them coming back and bloody mayhem ensues.

I didn’t like this one at all. There are some neat looking creatures on a budget and some attempts at gore but the way it was shot makes it impossible to follow. I get it is found footage and that the camera is going to bounce around but to then double down on a silly effect to make it look like it was recorded over other stuff that keeps interrupting and bleeding into the picture was bad. I couldn’t tell what the hell I was supposed to be paying attention to.

Suicide Bid. Next up we see an unpopular, or at least it is hinted she is, girl attempting to join a sorority. I guess they call this a “suicide bid” since she is only trying to join the one and is banking her entire social life on making it in. The sisters at the sorority take her to a spooky graveyard and tell her the story of it being haunted by a girl that was buried alive. She needs to climb in a coffin and be buried alive for the night. But we see they are just messing with her. Sure they put her in the coffin and made it seem like she was buried alive, but she wasn’t and they are just hazing her. Though when the cops show up it goes sideways.

This one pushed my buttons. I have a bit of claustrophobia so her being crammed into the coffin is already a bit freaky. But when they add water into the mix (it rains and the box floods) that had me squirming. Of course, we also get a ghost/zombie creature and a fun twist tossed in as well. While not perfect this one was worth my time.

Ozzy’s Dungeon. Remember those weird Nickelodeon gameshows that were geared to kids? Imagine if there was an underground version of that where bad things happened to those who lost but the reward was getting a wish granted by an all-powerful creature called Ozzy. We watch a young woman participate in the show while being cheered on by family. It doesn’t go well, and she ends up with a nasty looking broken leg and loses the game. The action moves to a later time where the girl’s family has kidnapped the host for ruining her life. Some gross stuff happens, and they end up getting her a wish from Ozzy. But that may have been a huge mistake.

I’m not fond of the ending, which seems forced and is unexplained. But there is some gross stuff in this one including that busted leg that gets twisted around again and again. If you don’t like seeing broken bones in your movies, then you will want to hit the fast forward button here. We also get some fun with acid, crawling thru poop, and a monster that is impressive for the lower budget that these filmmakers were working with. Finally, the actress that plays the mother is awesome.

The Gawkers. Next up is a pervy teenager who uses his camera to spy on his neighbors and overall is just a creeper. He and his friends set their sights on the hottie that moved across the street as we see them sneaking peeks at her in the swimming pool wearing her bikini. When his little brother helps her setup her new iMac (it was fun to see the old shipping box… nice touch) they install spyware that lets them use her webcam to be even more creepy. Though they get way more than they bargained for.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned. I loved this one. It dusts off a monster that is hardly ever used in movies. I dug the fact that these filmmakers were thinking outside the box. If you are wondering why I’m delaying in mentioning the creature it is to make sure that no one sees it before processing my spoiler warning above. Okay now is the time. There is a freaking Medusa in this flick! How cool is that? I didn’t see it coming, though they certainly gave us enough hints. The monster and it’s kills are brought to the screen nicely. This was a satisfying and entertaining inclusion in the movie.

Mabel rules!
To Hell and Back. Finally, we have saved the best for last. Some documentary filmmakers are invited by a cult to film their summoning of a demon into one of their willing members. Things go sideways and the pair somehow find themselves in Hell. Luckily, they meet a friendly demon that helps them find their way back home by hitching a ride with the summoned demon back to our world. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Well, there are complications and it doesn’t end well for our duo.

Recently I covered a found footage movie called Deadstream from directors Joseph and Vanessa Winter. This is their segment for this anthology, and it is an absolute blast. The sheer amount of creatures and gore in this one is amazing. We get several demons, dozens of bodies, stabbings, and a CGI demon in the shadows that all work perfectly. These are filmmakers who have a knack for squeezing every penny out of their budget and I can’t wait to see what they do next. I was also happy to see that they brought actress Melanie Stone in to play the helpful demon Mabel. She was great in Deadstream playing a creepy ghost and does an equally excellent job here as a demon. V/H/S/99 goes out strong with this segment.

This was such a great time that I’m obviously recommending it. That first story is weak but push thru that and there are some gems here. If they can keep making good quality horror on a budget I hope that this series never ends. As I’ve already mentioned this is streaming on Shudder. Give it a chance.

 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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