Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Verona Blue, Ally Ioannides, Steven Ogg, Luke Mullen and Joseph Winter
Distributor: Acorn Media International

5 036193 020674

Certificate: 18
Release Date: 27 March 2023

Acorn Media International releases the Shudder Original release V/H/S/99 on Blu-ray. This is the fifth instalment of the franchise, and incorporates five gristly horror tales presented in a found footage format – this time linked by the year 1999. It’s a brutal rendering of social isolation, analogue technology and disturbing home videos – exploring the dark side of 1990s nostalgia. V/H/S/99 is Shudder’s most streamed film ever.

In Maggie Levin’s ‘Shredding’ a local band wishes to film themselves playing in the venue of their heroes. The only trouble is the building is abandoned and considered to be haunted, after the place caught fire and their heroes were trampled by the fleeing crowd, and succumbed to the flames. They all lark about, aside from one member who feels it is disrespectful. They will come to regret their nostalgia trip when the spirit ghouls of the dead band return to claim new bodies. In Joannes Roberts’s ‘Suicide Bid’ the concept of college hazing is explored. An initiation involves a girl having to be buried alive for a certain amount of time, as a local legend said had happened years ago – wherein the body had disappeared. This time the arrival of the police and the onset of a storm delay a rescue until the next day. But reprisals from beyond the grave are unforgiving.

The third segment – by record producer, DJ, filmmaker and rapper, Flying Lotus (along with Zoe Cooper) – is a dark comedy about a TV kids’ gameshow which goes hideously wrong when a family’s little girl is seriously injured. In retribution, the family kidnap, ridicule and torture the host, whose only option is to take the family to Ozzy’s Dungeon, where any one-wish can be granted. But the girl’s wish is not what anyone expected in their wildest nightmares. In ‘The Gawkers’ – written and directed by Tyler MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill – a group of teenage boys spy on a good-looking neighbour, but when they install a camera in her house they get more than they bargained for in terms of monstrous retribution. We conclude with ‘To Hell and Back’ – in which two individuals are hired to film an occult ritual summoning, and take more of a part than they would ever have wished.

What begins as quirky and inventive, with fuzzy and jumping video tape images and previous generation recordings coming and going, quite quickly becomes tedious and annoying. All of these segments are concepts we’ve seen before on numerous occasions. The first is probably the most bloodthirsty but also the most dull, and it’s filmed so dark you can hardly make anything out. The idea of a kids’ TV show with a dark background was suitably explored in the Monsters anthology episode, 'Holly’s House', but Ozzy’s Dungeon is also below par. The others are solid tales, with perhaps the last two being most striking. It’s amazing what some movie magic will achieve, when you subsequently view the average behind-the-scenes footage. I very much like short tales with a linking theme; this one is a game of two halves. ‘To Hell and Back’ utilises clever camerawork and quick cuts to reveal (but not linger on) some intriguing nightmare creatures.


Ty Power

Buy this item online