‘V/H/S/99’ Assessment: No One Is Sort in This Horror Rewind
The chances should not good for “V/H/S” — which is to say it’s the even-numbered entries on this horror omnibus franchise which have been by far the most effective so far. As No. 5, “V/H/S/99” sadly maintains that sample, offering an uninspired extension of the sequence that had rebounded after a seven-year lull with final fall’s “V/H/S/94.”
That installment was sometimes uneven, however the higher segments had been terrific. Right here, nothing stands out: The perfect episodes are merely adequate, and the worst simply tiresome. Nonetheless, this model has confirmed viewer enchantment for style streaming platform Shudder, the place it ought to do properly when launched in varied territories on Oct. 20. Set in 1999 — the tail of the titular format’s industrial reign, since DVDs had been launched two years prior — the movie is unlikely to be the sequence’ final.
If this “V/H/S” has any binding theme, it will look like bullying. All however the final story contain merciless pranks normally perpetrated by callous youth who finally endure excessive comeuppance for the deeds they’ve dutifully recorded on videotape.
Maggie Levin’s “Shredding” kicks issues off with RACK, a Blink-182-type pop punk band of bratty skate boarders and ersatz rebels who movie their antics for theoretical on-line viewers. Their newest stunt is breaking into the ruins of a subterranean artwork collective/efficiency area. It shuttered after being gutted by a “freak fireplace” three years prior that claimed the lives of Bitch Cat, one other punk-ish band.
The others ridicule nice-guy drummer Ankur’s (Keanush Tafresi) fears over desecrating a de facto gravesite, however they aren’t laughing when pissed-off lifeless rockers wreak vengeance. Levin has music-video roots, and successfully recreates their late-’90s aesthetic. Like most shotgun weddings of horror cinema and rock, nevertheless, this one finally ends up foolish fairly than scary.
Extra efficiently creepy is “Suicide Bid,” from function veteran Johannes Roberts (of current “Resident Evil” and “The Strangers” sequels). Needy freshman Lily (Ally Ioannides) is inexplicably determined to be accepted into the worst “imply woman” sorority on campus. She thus submits to the “check” of being buried alive in a coffin, which might be disagreeable sufficient with out the addition of a spooky native legend. This story holds few surprises, nevertheless it’s efficient sufficient to rank as best-in-class right here.
Followers of producer-DJ-rapper Flying Lotus (né Steven Ellison) and his 2017 directorial debut function “Kuso” (which attracted consideration at Sundance for its viewers walkouts) might hand that prize as a substitute to his phase. Anybody else will possible have the other response. “Ozzy’s Dungeon” is the identify of a Nickelodeon-style recreation present the place children run an icky, slimy, none-too-sanitary “impediment course” with the intention to get their want granted.
After contestant Donna (Amelia Ann) is completely injured on-camera, her household (led by Sonya Eddy’s mother) kidnaps the smarmy host (Steven Ogg) and topics him to a extra sadistic “contest.” Ellison’s sensibility is absolutely current, with a lot emphasis on bodily fluids amidst a common, pretty noxious mixture of the cartoonish and grotesquely scatological. As in “Kuso,” his unique soundtrack gives invention of a significantly easier-to-take variety.
We’re again to skate boarders attempting to make like “Jackass” in Tyler MacIntyre’s “The Gawkers,” whereby a quartet of boorish suburban teen boys take a break from videotaping themselves with the intention to spy on the too-hot-to-be-true new neighbor subsequent door (Emily Candy). Alas, she’s received a secret it can show their nice misfortune to uncover. This miniature doesn’t lack for power, however gives nothing memorable in idea or incident.
In all probability probably the most bold phase is the final, “To Hell and Again” from Vanessa & Joseph Winter, who made their twin function directorial debut earlier this 12 months with above-average found-footage horror film “Deadstream.” Taking an identical comedic tilt, this has quarrelsome besties Nate (Archelaus Crisanto) and Troy (co-helmer Joseph) employed to video some neighbors’ occult ceremony on the eve of Y2K. Sadly, it’s a little bit too profitable, sucking them into “one other realm” that appears an entire lot like some lesser circle of Hades. There, they run round screaming at and fleeing varied gory perils, considerably aided by a not-unfriendly, semi-demonic sprite named Mabel (Melanie Stone). It’s a game-enough mixture of the icky and antic. However there’s not a variety of narrative propulsion in merely having our protagonists stumble throughout one grotesque creature after one other to allow them to go “Arrgh!”
In all probability the most effective factor in “V/H/S/99” is its wraparound sequences, that are amusing stop-motion animations of toy troopers. Ostensibly made by the bullied little brother (Ethan Pogue) of considered one of “The Gawkers” earlier than the digital camera will get yanked away from him, and likewise directed by that phase’s MacIntyre, they’re irrelevant to the principle tales, however nonetheless present moments of quirky appeal.
Creature prosthetics, make-up, CGI and different results parts are respectable in a movie whose different principal design contributions are considerably restricted by having to hew to the self-esteem of hand-held videocam capturing.
Mediocre as it’s, this franchise entry remains to be a number of cuts above Glenn Danzig’s infamous “Verotika” (additionally on Shudder) so far as horror anthologies go. Nevertheless, that doesn’t within the least cut back the pleasure in listening to classic Danzig monitor “Lengthy Manner Again From Hell” below the closing credit.