V/H/S 94 (2021) Review by Steve Kirkham

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V/H/S 94 (2021)

Acorn Media International. A Shudder Original. DVD/Blu Ray/Digital. 26th February

3 stars

Fourth in the ongoing series of anthology films, which started in 2012 V/H/S 94 takes the found footage genre and the sometimes grungy look of VHS tapes as its central aesthetic.

It features cut together shorts by various filmmakers, some who have worked on previous outings in the series, plus fresh writers and directors.

The wraparound by Jennifer Reeder, has a cameraman following a SWAT team as they raid a supposed drugs lab and find a bunch of dead people with their eyes ripped out! This is intercut throughout and is messy and pointless.

In the first actual complete story (“Storm Drain”, directed by Chloe Okuno) – a TV reporter, Holly Marciano (Anna Hopkins) and her cameraman enter a sewer to investigate tales of a Rat Man. This is nicely to the point and ends with a suitably gory, if slightly silly, punchline.

Next up is Simon Barrett’s “The Empty Wake” a fairly obvious tale of young Haley (Kyla Legend) being left to babysit a casket containing a body overnight at a funeral home. As a storm rages outside, she begins to think the dead person in the coffin is actually still alive. A so-so story enlivened by good make-up fx.

Best of the bunch is Timo Tjahjanto’s “The Subject” which has a crazy mad scientist desperately trying (and usually failing) to create a cross breed between a human and a mechanical construction. Of course when he succeeds things do not go to plan. Bonkers and wild this is the best shot of the shorts (less grunge and video artefacts overload over the footage) and the gory excess reminded me of those outrageous Japanese films that were all the rage like VAMPIRE GIRL vs FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (2009) or MEATBALL MACHINE (2005) with a touch of 1989s TETSUO about it. Startlingly gloriously splatterific!

Last up is Ryan Prow’s “Terror” about a ‘well regulated militia’ preparing an attack on the government using a supernatural ‘weapon’ created from a prisoner that they seem to keep killing and then being resurrected. Whilst this might be read as a comment on how things are in some parts of America, this was the least successful and the most annoying as it cleaved closest to one of things I hate about found footage – the shaky cam.

Steve Kirkham

Extras – 4 stars

Behind the Scenes (26 mins) – a good mix of talking heads and behind the scenes. Interesting to see the sets etc in the clear light of day.

San Diego Comicon Panel (28m) – shot during the pandemic so all the participants appear via Zoom.

Commentary hosted by Boo Crew and a separate commentary by Simon Barrett for his segment “The Empty Wake”

Also: Behind the Scenes Gallery; Special FX with Patrick Magee (6 mins); Breakdown of the visual fx on “The Empty Wake” (1 min); Hail Raatma! (2 mins) – a look at the costume/creature for Rat Man; 6 deleted and extended scenes; full length version of the Veggie Masher commercial.