Friday October 8th, 2021
STARRING: ANNA HOPKINS, STEVEN MCCARTHY, RODRIGO FERNANDEZ-STOLL
DIRECTED BY: SIMON BARRETT, CHLOE OKUNO, RYAN PROWS, JENNIFER REEDER, TIMO TJAHJANTO
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
With this being October the stream of horror movies is constant, which is a good thing, and even better when the movies are cool. I say that because the newest installment into the V/H/S series of anthology films, is by far the best yet, with a collection of segments that all bring something good to the table. The themes and concepts may not be new, but when it comes to anthology films, all it takes is at least three out of five, and V/H/S/94 hits more than misses. Following the dismal V/H/S/ Viral, the bar was not high to clear, but this time we’re going into the 90’s, and we get to see a collection of vampires, unwanted surgeries, and a half-man-half rat character that will be a horror movie cult character if enough folks see it. In short, there’s a lot of good stuff going on in V/H/S/94.
There’s not much of a setup to this anthology, the main section directed by Jennifer Reeder, where the static video starts up, and we follow a S.W.A.T. team entering into a building, with hopes to shut down a drug den. What they enter into is a complex with various rooms and in each room another person with their eyes cut out of their heads. It’s after this initial impact where the various segments interject, cutting to something new, like a channel being changed, or the tape being recorded over. Six segments in total make up this delightful horror film and where V/H/S/94 succeeds even more is in the genre of “found footage” movies. The plot device of the found footage movie typically irks me the wrong way, but the execution from all segments work, as they succeed at creating legitimate reasons for the recorder to keep capturing the terror.
The first segment is Chloe Okuno’s “Storm Drain”, which begins with a local news report and finishes with a new horror creature by the name of Raatma. The lead character is on-scene reporter Holly Marciano (Anna Hopkins), who goes to an area in town where this Rat-man has been seen. What seems to be a hallucination by the homeless and the desperate, turns out to be a real terrifying beast living in the sewer system. The outcome is terrifying beyond belief and creates a new monster that would be worthy of its own spinoff. The second segment, and possibly the best of the bunch, is Simon Barrett’s “The Empty Wake”. It involves a woman named Hayley (Kyal Legend) working late at a funeral parlor, stationed as the onsite contact for the wake of a man that nobody really liked. There’s not a single soul showing up and a wild storm outside the door, but then the body inside the closed coffin starts to shake around, and that’s just the start of the terror for Hayley. The makeup and prosthetics in both those segments make V/H/S/94 start strong and finish even stronger.
The third and fourth segments are unique in there own way to follow up the first two, where Timo Tjahjanto’s “The Subject” has a similar premise to Hardcore Henry, or any other movie involving insane action. It involves people being held against their will, having unwanted surgeries performed on them, and resulting in part man-part machine. It’s when the people awake from their induced naps, they awake to wild action and bodies being sliced to pieces. The final segment is Ryan Prows “Terror”, which has the sense of film similar to Skin, involving a group of bad men using someone or something for their gain that backfires on them. I won’t give much more than that, it just involves a solid amount of bloodshed, if that’s what you look forward to.
As a collective whole, V/H/S/94 is filled with small samples or reasons as to why the horror genre will always be the best. All six segments- yes, even a faux commercial called “The Veggie Masher”- have their own unique stylings of the director’s taste, which make it work. It all comes together, with each segment honoring the 90’s in a fresh new way. V/H/S/94 becomes a horror hit from the minute you hit play on the VCR.
V/H/S/94 IS CURRENTLY PLAYING ON SHUDDER AND SELECT THEATERS FRIDAY OCTOBER 8TH
Written by: Leo Brady