V/H/S/99 (2022)

The fifth V/H/S film — plus the spinoffs Siren and Kids vs. Aliens — I think this was the best one that I’ve seen yet. It’s an absolute burst of fun and energy made by really talented creators and stands out amongst the recent glut of horror anthology films.

“Shredding” is directed and written by Maggie Levin. It’s the footage of a punk rock band that records their stunts for a web show. They’re broken into the Colony Underground, a former music venue that burned down and caused the deaths of each member of rising band Bitch Cat. One of the band’s members, Ankur, warns them that the legend of the bhuta says that anyone who defiles the final resting place of these spirits will be taken over by them. He runs away when his bandmates pretend to be possessed, but they won’t need to pretend for much longer.

“Suicide Bid” is directed and written by Johannes Roberts and its tale of sorority sisters burying one of their pledges alive feels like the kind of story that could have been expanded and made into a movie in the mid 80s. It’s filled with so many frights as well as a great twist ending.

Flying Lotus directed and co-wrote (with Zoe Cooper) “Ozzy’s Dungeon,” a segment that takes clips of a Nickelodeon-style game show that ends in tragedy and the family that has waited years for revenge. Beyond having a look that perfectly captures that style of entertainment, it twists and turns into something even better, as the family goes back into the dungeon to discover who Ozzy really is.

“The Gawkers” is directed by Tyler MacIntyre, who wrote it with Chris Lee Hill. The soldier sequences that show up throughout the film come from this, as some suburbans teens spy on their sexy new neighbor. It’s a scene we’ve seen before in other films, but here it becomes an experience of mythological terror.

“To Hell and Back” is by Vanessa and Joseph Winter, who also made Deadstream. On New Year’s Eve 1999, Nate and Troy have been hired by some witches to document a woman named Kirsten being transformed into the demon Ukabon. Yet during the ceremony, another demon named Ferkus drags Nate and Tony to Hell where they meet Mabel, a demon who decides to send them back if they promise to write her name in the witches’ book. Things don’t go so well from there, but they are awesome, as this is such a fun segment and I’m all for more Mabel, as her name is chanted through the credits, but not before Danzig’s “Long Way Back from Hell” blasts through the speakers.

I can’t wait for the next one, V/H/S/85. If the quality — and great stories — from this installment continue, I’ll watch as many of these as they make.

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