V/H/S/ 99 (2022)

The newest installment of the “V/H/S/” series was a welcome treat for me back in 2022, as I have always been a fan of the film series. With the popularity of lo-fi analog horror, “V/H/S/” can still have some good shelf life, and spin some damn good horror segments down the line. “V/H/S/ 99” sadly stumbles here and there in what is probably the weakest entry of the movie series to date. The great segments outweigh the weaker entries, but that’s not saying too much when even the better segments aren’t really as spectacular as something like “Safe Haven” from “V/H/S/ 2.” Even the framing device for the segments never quite comes full circle, in the end.

Easily the best of the bunch, “Shredding” from Maggie Levin involves a punk rock band aspiring for greatness that breaks in to an abandoned music venue. After rising band Bitch Cat died from a horrific fire in the club, their spirits are said to haunt the now condemned club. Twisted, and bizarre, Levin really has an eye for grue, staging one of the grosser dismemberment sequences in a horror film in recent memory. Plus, you have to love the pay off. “Suicide Bid” from Johannes Roberts is a very good, if predictable, tale of Lily, a college freshman willing to do anything to join Beta Sigma Eta.

She performs a “suicide bid” in order to be accepted in to their sorority, but is hesitant after hearing the legend of another ill fated sorority girl named Giltine, who also attempted a suicide bid and paid dearly. While I could see where it was all heading, “Suicide Bid” works as a nail biter with some great editing, and a fantastic pay off. There’s also the bonkers “To Hell And Back,” a darkly comic horror tale from Vanessa and Joseph Winter. Set in New Year’s Eve 1999, best friends and videographers Nate and Troy have been hired by what is revealed to be a coven of witches that are planning to resurrect an ancient being known as Ukabon.

Things go terribly wrong when a different demon rips through pulling Nate and Troy in to Hell. This finisher is a great capper, going all out with a literal visit to hell, pairing some pretty funny gags with some unnerving glimpses in to the underworld. It’s a perfect compliment to the newest series of shorts. Two of the weakest efforts includes “Ozzy’s Dungeon” written by Zoe Cooper and directed by Flying Lotus, a tale about a twisted game show and an evil pact. The short was much too silly to revel in its sinister back drop and I found the pay off kind of lacking. “The Gawkers” centers on a group of teen boys cross the line when they decide to use a web cam to spy on their sexy, enigmatic next door neighbor.

Little do they know that there’s so much more to her than either of them can comprehend. Written by Chris Lee Hill and directed by Tyler MacIntyre, “The Gawkers” is the weakest segment, feeling like a blatant retread of “Amateur Night” from the first “V/H/S/.” That said, “V/H/S/ 99” may not be the best of the series so far, as it doesn’t quite offer up a dynamic segment that stood out in its own class; it does however excel with creative, and fun implementation of late nineties tropes, paired with some solid horror all around.