Found movies have a specific set of delights – there’s the voyeuristic appeal of watching something that seems clandestine, the conceptual ideas that filmmakers can only get away with in that format, and the possibility of special effects that have the power to both impress and sicken. The V/H/S The series is adept at exploring them, and there’s room in the films’ anthology format for a filmmaker to showcase their own strengths and interests. V/H/S 99the latest entry in the franchise, is no exception with five segments that waver in quality but manage to deliver something enjoyable along the way.
Escaping from the lore of the series so far, there’s no singular wraparound premise for V/H/S 99, just stop-motion animated shorts created by one of the characters from one of the segments, “The Gawkers,” directed by Tyler MacIntyre. We don’t meet the teenagers behind the camera and in “Gawkers” until near the end of the film, but the film opens strongly with “Shredding,” directed by Maggie Levin. Following the chase of a group of teenagers on a mission to play a show in an underground venue that was the scene of a disaster years ago for the last band to play there, “Shredding” is a fun mix music video styles from the 80s and 90s with a group of zombies as well. It’s less scary, but a great way to get into the decidedly late 90s vibe. V/H/S 99 go for. Next is “Suicide Bid,” directed by Johannes Roberts, a story about a sorority hazing gone horribly wrong when a promise is forced to spend the night buried alive in a coffin. You can probably guess what happens next, but let’s just say it’s all fun and fun until an old engagement decides to resurface under the mud. Flying Lotus’ segment, “Ozzy’s Dungeon”, is next and is one of the best V/H/S 99. We follow a Double To dare/Legends of the Hidden Temple style show that goes horribly wrong for a young contestant. Then the segment takes a rough turn, making it a surreal revenge nightmare (with lots of visceral goop and guts). The execution and direction of this segment in particular sets it apart – it feels distinct, focused and fun in that only a V/H/S 99 the segment can. “Ozzy’s Dungeon” makes the most of the limited time it has to make an impression. The result is something akin to the previous episode’s “Storm Drain,” an excellent filmmaker showcase that almost bursts from the film with potential and power.