V/H/S/94 Movie Poster | ©2021 Shudder

V/H/S/94 Movie Poster | ©2021 Shudder

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Anna Hopkins, Christian Potenza, Conor Sweeney, Kyal Legend, Devin Chin-Cheong, Budi Ross, Donny Alamsyah, Juan Bione Subiantoro, Vincent Martin, Christian Lloyd, Cameron Kneteman
Writers: Jennifer Reeder, Chloe Okuno, Simon Barrett, Ryan Prows, Steven Kostanski, anthology concept by David Bruckner & Brad Miska
Directors: Simon Barrett, Steven Kostanski, Chloe Okuno, Ryan Prows, Jennifer Reeder, Timo Tjahjanto
Distributor: Shudder
Release Date: October 6, 2021

V/H/S/94 is the fourth movie in the V/H/S franchise, which began in 2012. V/H/S/94 stands out in the series for several reasons. First of all, although it still doesn’t have a blockbuster budget, the filmmakers are given enough money to actually have payoff shots. As a possible direct result, the little horror movies within the anthology can show rather than suggest. The outcome is punchy, gory fun.

The wraparound sequence for V/H/S/94 (“Holy Hell” in the credits) is written and directed by Jennifer Reeder. This involves a brutal SWAT team that hits a warehouse. The building houses what seems to be a low-rent broadcast studio, a lot of dead bodies, and a cache of mysterious VHS tapes.

The first of these is “Storm Drain,” written and directed by Chloe Okuno. It shows footage of a local TV reporter (Anna Hopkins) researching a local legend about a “rat man” living in the sewers.

Next up is “The Wake,” written and directed by Simon Barrett. At the request of the family, a videotape is rolling while a funeral home worker (Kyal Legend) sits with a closed coffin while awaiting mourners on a dark and stormy night.

We get a commercial, “The Veggie Masher,” written and directed by Steven Kostanski. This seems to exist mainly to prove that it’s possible to be gross without any blood or violence.

For some international and sci-fi hardware, we get “The Subject” from Indonesia, written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto. A mad scientist (a happily broad Budi Ross) is videotaping his own experiments in melding humans with weapons machinery.

Back to the U.S., we have “The Terror,” written and directed by Ryan Prows. A neo-Nazi group are proudly recording their preparations to wreak havoc on a federal building. Prows does an excellent job of making us root against these folks even more than we do at the outset.

One minor gripe is that, to add technical authenticity to the wraparound, there’s a video tracking line at the bottom of the screen that becomes increasingly aggravating throughout. We get it, this is a videotape. Please allow us to concentrate in peace on what we’re being shown.

This aside, the tech credits are very good, with superb work on the gore effects. In fact, this negates what was one of the presumable factors in the original V/H/S setup, which was getting around low-budget effects with glitches that could be blamed on the old tape format.

Reeder’s wraparound is clever, and “The Subject” achieves major levels of mayhem. Everything is pleasingly tense and feels complete.

V/H/S/94 is a satisfying horror anthology. There’s nothing antiquated about it.

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