I graduated high school in ’99. Those four years are forever cemented in my brain thanks to everything from the iconic music to the chokers and Doc Martins, but, most memorably, the movies. Horror was back in full force after SCREAM came out in ’96, and The Blair Witch Project scared the ever-loving shit out of me in ’99. That singular film and its marketing campaign kicked off the found footage revolution. Shudder continues to have a stranglehold on audiences with the genre and this franchise. V/H/S/99, welcome to the bloody club, friend.
Written and directed by Maggie Levin, this first segment centers around an obnoxious group of friends/band members who take their camcorder to explore the venue where another band, Bitch Cats, was trampled to death. When they disrespect the space and Bitch Cats, they immediately regret it. Super fun SFX makeup, practical fx, and a lot of sick humor make this a badass segment.
Lily makes a “suicide bid,” a video pledge to one sorority. A dangerous hazing ritual rains on her parade. The success relies on the performance of Alexia Ioannides, and she nails it. Written and directed by Johannes Roberts, this is as satisfying as a horror film gets.
Host of a kid’s reality game show, a violent version of Double Dare and Legends of the Hidden Temple, meets one contestant’s vengeful stage mother. Writer-director Flying Lotus and co-writer Zoe Cooper give Hollywood the cabal treatment we’ve heard so much about from the crazies.
Written by Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre, who also directs, The Gawkers follows a group of teenage boys stalking a neighbor. They coerce younger brother Brady to install spyware on her new Mac computer. What she does in the privacy of her home should have stayed that way. Brady also makes a voice appearance in the stop-motion transition scenes. These are a departure from the other films, and they are hilarious.
To Hell and Back
Vanessa Winter and Joesph Winter, the genius minds behind DEADSTREAM, capture a coven’s Y2K plans. In Winter team fashion, fear meets funny when things go awry. Hired cameramen Nate and Troy find themselves cast to Hell. The segment features ghastly creatures and a spirited witch named Mabel. Actress Melanie Stone has the spritely vocal stylings of Gump from LEGEND, and I was obsessed. If this filmmaking team exclusively made found footage features for the rest of their careers, I’d be damn delighted.
V/H/S/99 is era perfection, again. To Shudder and producer Josh Goldbloom, please keep cranking these beauties out. To audiences, stay through the credits.
V/H/S/99 marks the return of the acclaimed found footage anthology franchise and the sequel to Shudder’s most-watched premiere of 2021. A thirsty teenager’s home video leads to a series of horrifying revelations. Featuring five new stories from filmmakers Maggie Levin (Into The Dark: My Valentine), Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City), Flying Lotus (Kuso), Tyler MacIntyre (Tragedy Girls) and Joseph & Vanessa Winter (Deadstream), V/H/S/99 harkens back to the final punk rock analog days of VHS, while taking one giant leap forward into the hellish new millennium. (A Shudder Original)
Premiered October 20 on Shudder