V/H/S/ 99 Blu Ray Review (Acorn Media)
V/H/S/99 (aKa V/H/S 5) is a 2022 found footage horror anthology film directed by composer Flying Lotus (Kuso), producer Maggie Levin (Into the Dark), editor Tyler MacIntyre (Tragedy Girls), writer Johannes Roberts (The Strangers: Prey at Night), actor Joseph Winter (Deadstream), and production designer Vanessa Winter (Devil’s Got My Back). This film making crew here are all somewhat new when it comes to directing but all have worked on bigger projects such as The Boondocks, Atlanta, True Blood, Date Night, 47 Meters Down, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,and The Black Phone over the years. It was written by Zoe Cooper (The Signal), Flying Lotus (Yasuke), Chris Lee Hill (Patchwork), Maggie Levin (Diva), Tyler MacIntyre (The Sweetheart), Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door), Joseph Winter (Wrath of the Dead), and Vanessa Winter (Demon Voice). It was produced by David Bruckner (V/H/S, V/H/S/94, Siren, The Night House, Hellraiser, Creepshow, Southbound, and The Signal). This is the fifth film in the V/H/S franchise plus it had a spin off feature. It premiered on Shudder on October 20th and broke streaming records on there. A prequel is already planned for the horror series under the title “V/H/S/85”!!!!The film is presented as a mixtape of five different narratives set in 1999. Unlike in the previous V/H/S entries, the film does not have an overarching frame narrative in between each short. Instead, short stop-motion animations of toy soldiers serve as interludes. “Shredding” features R.A.C.K.which stands for band members Rache l(played by: Jesse LaTourette from Boy Erased), Ankur (played by: Keanush Tafreshi from Weird: The Al Yankovic Story), Chris (played by: Dashiell Derrickson from The Black Phone), and Kaleb (played by: Jackson Kelly from Lucky Hank). They are a punk rock band who love pulling pranks and regularly record their antics on a web show that they host. For their latest video, the band decides to break into the Colony Underground, a former music venue that burned down three years prior in an electrical fire which claimed the lives of all four members of the punk band Bitch Cat, who died after being trampled during a chaotic stampede. The tape then transitions to a demo reel of Bitch Cat performing and being interviewed. Returning to the main tape, R.A.C.K. enters the condemned venue. As the quartet explore the site, things start to get weird and the band ends up regretting their prank. “Suicide Bid” features college freshman Lily (played by: Ally Ioannides from Into the Badlands) is desperate to join Beta Sigma Eta, the most prestigious sorority on her campus. Lily performs a “suicide bid” only applying to one sorority as her recruitment choice. This is risking potential alienation upon rejection. The effort appears to pay off, as Lily is invited out for a night on the town with the Beta Sigma Eta sisters. The sisters lead by Annie (played by: Isabelle Hahn from Aftertaste) take Lily to a nearby graveyard where, as part of a hazing ritual, she is dared to spend the night buried inside a coffin.The sisters reveal that this is meant to recreate an urban legend wherein another freshman, Giltine (played by: Christopher Lee Page from The Cabin) was dared to commit the same deed to enter the same sorority 20 years earlier, only to be forgotten by her classmates for a week. “Ozzy’s Dungeon” features a children’s game show where young contestants participate in physical challenges for a chance to descend into the titular dungeon and meet Ozzy (played by: Stephanie Ray from This Is Us), who will allow the winner to be granted a wish. During the final unbeaten challenge, the enthusiastic Donna (played by: Amelia Ann from Anxiety) whose wish is to help her poverty-stricken family leave their run-down neighborhood, is brutally and permanently crippled by her rival contestant, losing the show after the host (played by: Steven Ogg from The Walking Dead, Westworld, Snowpiercer, and The Tick) doesn’t stop the challenge so her injury can be tended to. Years later, after Ozzy’s Dungeon was cancelled, the show’s former host awakens, stripped and locked in a dog cage, in the basement of Donna’s domineering mother Debra, who is gradually revealed to have groomed her daughter to win the show at all costs so she could escape Detroit. With the help of her browbeaten husband Marcus (played by: Jerry Boyd), their son Brandon (played by: Charles Lott Jr. from The Way Back), and Donna who now uses a wheelchair and whose injured leg is decaying and gangrenous. Debra has the host filmed while he is forced through several torturous versions of the challenges from Ozzy’s Dungeon. Can he survive his own games???? “The Gawkers” features Brady (played by: Ethan Pogue from Bad B*tch) is a young teenager who films stop motion videos of toy soldiers with his older brother Dylan’s (played by: Luke Mullen from Barbie) camera. While Brady records his latest video, Dylan bursts into his room and takes the camera, which he uses to film himself practicing pick-up lines. He and his friends Kurt (played by: Tyler Lofton from Love, Victor), Mark (played by: Cree Kawa from American Gigolo), and Boner (played by: Duncan Anderson from Wineville) exclude Brady from their activities, thinking him to be a hopeless loser.The friends then go out to pull pranks on the neighborhood residents and each other, then perform tricks at the local skatepark. The group also discover a large patch of snakeskin near a field, taunting Boner to eat it for 50 cents. After concealing the camera and using it in an attempt to get secret up-skirt photos of two girls, the teens become fixated on Sandra (played by: Emily Sweet from Castle Freak and Fear Pharm), an attractive blonde who has moved into the house across the street from Brady and Dylan’s house, whose yard is revealed to be decorated with several stone busts. As times goes on, this peeping game becomes more dangerous as the teenagers keep spying on their new neighbor. “To Hell and Back” features on New Year’s Eve 1999, videographers Nate (played by: Archelaus Crisanto from Cub Scout) and Troy (played by: Joseph Winter from Cop vs. Robber) have been hired by what is revealed to be a coven of witches. Their task is to film the witches performing a ritual where a woman named Kirsten (played by: Tori Pence from Studio C) volunteers to be offered as a vessel to a powerful demon known as Ukabon (played by: Dustin Watts). Despite agreeing to film the ritual, Nate is notably skeptical of his clients and thinks that the ritual may be a prank. The witches performing the ritual tell the duo that while they call to Ukabon, they will not actually summon it until the stroke of midnight on the new millennium, when the veil between Earth and Hell is at its thinnest. As the ritual begins, Ferkus, an uninvited demon who has disrupted the coven’s rituals before, makes its presence known. As the witches attempt to cast it out, Ferkus grabs Nate and Troy and drags them underneath the witches’ altar. As his camera glimpses Ferkus retreating, Troy slowly discovers that he and Nate have been sent to Hell. The duo encounter bloodthirsty demons, hazardous traps, and mutilated bodies spread throughout the cavernous landscape. The two best friends got themselves into something that they might never be able to come back from. Can they escape this living hell before it’s all too late????Honestly, I think people were a little too harsh on this one. Before I checked it out but with this home video release, I seen lots of mixed comments when it first premiered on Shudder. It’s definitely not the best entry when it comes to the V/H/S/ franchise but I think it’s far from being the worst one either. I am usually not the biggest fan of most Found Footage horror but I’ve always enjoyed the V/H/S series. They are some of the better horror anthologies when it comes to modern day horror. I really enjoyed “Shredding”, “Suicide Bid”, and “Ozzy’s Dungeon” the most out of all the shorts featured here. I think a few of these could easily be turned into a full length feature. It’s really cool to see these fresh directors come on the screen with a project like this, Most of the cast here are unknowns and newcomers when it comes to acting. It had some quality eye candy in a few of the shorts. It featured a few actors that I recognized from the other projects like Emily Sweet and Steven Ogg. The special fx and gore in V/H/S99 were the highlights when it came to this horror anthology. V/H/S99 delivers a variety of dark subjects, there’s something for everyone here. I’m looking forward to the next one that’s set in the 80’s, RECOMMENDED!!!!Let’s talk about the high definition presentation and special features from Acorn Media! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer looks fantastic on this home video release! It has the English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on the disc. All of the dialogue is very clean, all the chaos is elevated, and the music has a nice boost to it. It has English SDH subtitles. It has an “Audio Commentary” with directors Maggie Lemming, Flying Lotus, Tyler Macintyre, Vanessa Winter, and Joseph Winter moderated by Trevor and Leo of Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew Podcast. “AMC+ Fan Experience Panel NYCC 2022” is around 51 minutes. It has a little over 2 minute “Gag Reel”. It has a little over 4 minute “Deleted Scenes” from Shredding, Shredding “BitchCat Music Video”, and The Gawkers. It has around a minute of “Bloopers”.It has around 3 minutes of “Camera Tests with Commentary”. “The Making of Medusa” is around a minute. “To Hell and Back: – Raw Footage” is around 8 minutes. “Location Scouting” is around 2 minutes. “Storyboards and Blocking Rehearsals” is around 5 minutes. This disc is loaded with extras from this production. It’s available on Shudder and everywhere in the U,K. with this home video release. CHECK IT OUT!!!!