The VHS franchise has been a mixed bag franchise in horror. Bringing back anthologies and found footage mixtures with the first one its been a rocky road with most films being average with some fantastic stand outs. V/H/S 94 brought it back after a horrible Viral entry and now it seems the series is going to be going through different decades in multiple films (as V/H/S 85 is set for 2023 release). Sadly though 99 doesn’t follow the fun times that 94 gave us and instead treats us to too much mediocrity.
Instead of having an overall story to give some sort of connection with these random stories we are given Robot Chicken like animated war stories which are actually pretty funny in parts.
We see Rack as the first story however. Really pushing the 1999 angle this film gives us a pack of teenagers who skate, pull Jackass like pranks and skits, and play punk music while filming it for themselves. They decide to sneak into an old building where a punk band was killed and as expected things don’t go well. This film really shows how heavy they are pushing the 1999 angle with its editing and rapid cuts. It almost becomes annoying at times to watch as this story takes so long to set up then ends just as quickly as it starts to get good. Its nothing great but shows they really put the work into getting that old feel going.
Suicide Bid follows a sorority doing a hazing ritual by burying a new recruit in a grave where an old story was buried alive and died in. This one is shot well and has some great claustrophobic moments in it. The story moves along quickly and while not original in the slightest is entertaining for what it is.
Ozzy’s Dungeon, directed by musician Flying Lotus, is next on the block. This will be one of the more widely debated ones here with fans either loving or hating it I’m betting. Following 90s Nick shows like Legend Of The Hidden Temple we are taken through a kids game show where something goes horribly wrong and someone is hurt. Not able to take it though the family has more sinister plans for the host who they blame who taking the grand life away from their daughter. Things take a massive twist from there though.
Now this one is mixed for me. It starts off super slow similar to Rack really driving in that 90s Nick show feeling. Once the events happen though and the family gets involved it takes some weird turns leading up to the end where it just does a 180. I wasn’t super happy with the ending or how they twisted the story into something unexpected though.
The Gawkers might be the shortest and simplest of the shorts though. We follow a group of teenage boys who want to spy on their hot neighbor. Things aren’t as they appear with her and when the twist happens which lasts about 90 seconds we are treated to a fun but visually lacking short short. Its fun but could have been better with some decent effects instead of bad CGI. The built up is much more enjoyable here though with the teenage boys having a great natural feel to them.
Closing out the show though is To Hell And Back, the best one of the film. Following 2 guys hired to record a Satanic ritual by some housewives on the final moments leading into the 21st century. By mistake though it works and the two camera men end up getting dropped into a layer of hell where the housewives are trying to summon their demon from. From here we watch them attempt to escape the hell they are in before time runs out and they are trapped there or worst.
The film is self aware, funny, gory, and visually appealing like none other here. We watch these two goofs befriend a demon to help them escape in exchange for a favor and its a quick run though Hell that feels like a lost level from Doom. We get some creative gore and kills here and the location is simple but extremely effective. While the conclusion to this short isn’t the best it doesn’t make me like this any less as the film ends on a high bloody note.
Overall while not as good as 94, 99 has its bright spots. The issue is nothing here seems to really go for scares instead going for some far reach story twists instead. Outside of the last story I can’t see myself wanting to explore any of these again which aside from Viral I’ve never felt. Hopefully with the next entry we get some good 80s horror shorts.
2.5 / 5