Blu-ray Review: V/H/S/99 – This Retro Found Footage Horror Anthology Sequel Is A Mixed Bag

3 out of 5 stars

The fifth instalment in the V/H/S film series, V/H/S/99 adds an end-of-the-century spin to the successful anthology franchise. Now, Movies In Focus readers will know that I’m not a fan of found footage movies – but I do like a good anthology film. I went into V/H/S/99 hoping the latter would outweigh the former – and it mostly did. They can often be a mixed bag, but if you hit a bum note in an anthology film, there’s always the chance of redemption in the next segment. I fired-up my trusty Blu-ray player, grabbed a box of popcorn and settled in for a selection of bite-sized horror movies.

Here’s how I got on…

Written and directed by Maggie Levin, Shredding wasn’t my thing. A group of punk-rock skaters break into an old music venue which saw a final gig that was memorable for all the wrong reasons – a fire broke out and the band was trampled to death by their fans. The protagonists weren’t particularly likeable it was slow to get going before things turned bloody towards the end.

Things perk up with Johannes Roberts’ Suicide Bid. This time around a College freshman takes part in a hazing ritual in an attempt to get into her one and only sorority choice. It doesn’t get off to a good start when she’s buried underground in a box filled with spiders. Things go from bad to worse and…well, I don’t want to spoil things too much. A passable effort.  

Written by Zoe Cooper and Flying Lotus and directed by Flying Lotus, Ozzy’s Dungeon might be the best of the bunch. Opening with video footage of a hellish-looking children’s game show, the film fast-forwards a few years to find the show’s host held captive by the parents of a former contestant. Tortured and forced to recreate moments from his show, Ozzy’s Dungeon plays like a torture porn horror before delving into the supernatural. I had no idea where it was going – and that has to be commended.

Directed by Tyler MacIntyre and written by MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill, Gawkers takes the American Pie route of following a gang of horny teenage boys as they ogle their next-door neighbour from afar. It’s entertaining enough, but there’s not a whole lot of horror going on until the last few minutes. 

Vanessa & Joseph Winter’s To Hell And Back sees a two-man camera crew filming a satanic ritual. When they accidentally find themselves transported to hell, they must make their way back home before the ritual ends. Cleverly shot, well acted and with some make-up effects – this makes sure that V/H/S/99 goes out on a high. 

Special Features

The individual films within V/H/S/99 might be a mixed bag, but the special features are excellent. There’s an audio commentary with most of the individual filmmakers. You’d think this would be over-stuffed and unfocused – it’s not. The blu-away also comes with gag reels, bloopers and assorted behind-the-scenes bits and pieces.

A strong collection of extras.