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“V/H/S99” an easy skip, unsatisfying | Arts & Entertainment

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Found footage franchise, “V/H/S” returns for its fifth installment in the series with “V/H/S99.” The “V/H/S” franchise is an interesting one in today’s horror landscape, being that it is one of the only found footage-style series outside of “Blair Witch” and “Paranormal Activity.” What makes these films stand out is that they are not a singular narrative. Instead, they are anthologies (multiple shorter narratives contained within the film). “V/H/S99” was released exclusively to the horror movie streaming service, Shudder, on Oct. 21, 2022.

Given that there are five separate short films within “V/H/S99,” I will give my brief thoughts on each one separately. Fair warning, most of these I would not recommend watching.

“Shredding”: This was a very underwhelming opening short to start the film. Like most of these shorts, it’s full of a lot of boring build-up that has a very mediocre payoff. The makeup and monster effects are pretty good. However, I’ve seen much better this year in films such as “Terrifier 2” and “X.” Though I must say, the punk band that is featured does create some pretty good music.

“Suicide Bid”: This was my second favorite of the five shorts. It plays on some relatable fears such as drowning and being buried alive that genuinely made me feel pretty uncomfortable. The plot revolves around sorority hazing turning deadly. Though the logic of the camera working in the short doesn’t make much sense, I can ignore it.

“Ozzy’s Dungeon”: Wow, this was equally not funny as it was not scary. There are weird attempts at humor that are painfully unfunny. The premise starts off fairly strong, depicting a shady children’s game show host and his rigged game. However, the short devolves into nothing short of corny horror schlock. “Ozzy’s Dungeon” is definitely the worst short in a stream of underwhelming shorts.

“The Gawkers”: Overall, it’s another case of an interesting-enough setup with an underwhelming payoff. Here, we follow a group of perverted teen boys spying on their neighbor. As expected, the neighbor turns out to be none other than a Medusa-like creature who comes for the boys. Overall, a very mediocre short that did nothing for me.

“To Hell and Back”: They saved the best for the last here with “To Hell and Back”. This final short follows cult members preparing for a final sacrifice to their leader, eventually going to hell. I have to give this one credit for jumping into the action right away and not teasing the audience; this one is pretty great. There is some horrifying imagery present during the members’ journey out of hell. This also has the best atmosphere in any of the shorts, truly feeling hellish. I do wish that there were fewer attempts at humor here, however.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of “V/H/S99” is going to hinge solely on your thoughts of found footage horror in general. If you find it very repetitive and cliché, you’re going to find this very repetitive and cliché. If you find them horrifying and realistic, you’re going to find this horrifying and realistic. I fall into the former rather than the latter, unfortunately. The general pattern of a slow buildup followed by a last-second scare gets rather boring to me, personally.

Unless you are a superfan of the “V/H/S” franchise and found horror footage, I recommend skipping this one. Given that this is exclusively on a strictly horror movie streaming service, I will say that the directors and producers know exactly who they made this for. Even if this was on Netflix or Hulu, I would say skip it. There’s no reason to start subscribing to Shudder simply for this film. This was an unsatisfying watch, going 2/5 in terms of enjoyable short films. 4 out of 10.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.

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