Thoughts on “V/H/S/94”

When I talked about “Deadhouse Dark”, I mentioned that I wasn’t even a big fan of anthology movies.  So why did I pick up this movie, which is an anthology horror movie that’s a continuation in some sense of a famous series of anthology horror movies that I, myself, had never watched?  Well, other than perhaps stupidity, the main reasons are: that it was another Shudder movie and my opinion of them has greatly improved from the first couple; that I thought that this was a good opportunity to get some kind of sense of that series; and finally that, well, it was cheap and so worth the risk like, well, so many of the movies I talk about were.

I didn’t enjoy it very much.

Now, I probably could go through each story segment and pick it apart, but I don’t think it’s worth doing, at least in part because most of them weren’t very memorable.  The one I remember most is the first one, and that’s because it actually did really try to create a vibe that these were videos from the 90s that were being stored and viewed on VHS, even as the plot — monster in the sewers that kills some people and converts a television reporter — wasn’t all that memorable.  But the other segments, in and of themselves, didn’t have that connection to the times, even as at least one of them references Bill Clinton in a situation where they probably would have preferred Joe Biden.  They might be referencing movie and media tropes from the times, but despite being alive then they didn’t jump out at me which means that anything like that would have been lost on me.  So all that’s left is them as horror tropes, and none of them seem all that creative to me.

But as I noted before, the big thing for me is the framing device, and the framing device here doesn’t really work.  It’s basically a raid on the installation that has the videos with them appearing on TVs in roughly related areas, but there’s no reason for anyone to watch them and no real indication that even the police officers raiding the place actually do.  As we approach the end, it becomes clear that something isn’t right with the raiding police officers and the end reveals that two of them are in fact behind the whole thing and are killing off/capturing all the other officers, but that plan makes no sense — they would have to leave anyway since there’d probably be official paperwork and all — and none of this actually sets anything up for the stories or provides any real linkage between them despite one officer being in the last one (he’s not one of the killer officers).  So that leaves is it as a horror segment itself, and not enough happens and it isn’t developed enough to really work as one, with the horror only really happening at the end and us not really having enough of an emotional connection to anyone to really grasp or care about the twist.

So, ultimately, this was the sort of movie that has to hit on all cylinders for me to like it and it stumbled in a number of places.  As you might expect, this is a movie that’s going to go into my box of movies to maybe resell at some point, because I can’t imagine rewatching it any time soon.  This also means that based on the last couple of full movies I’m thinking that Shudder-exclusives might not be movies that I’ll necessarily like, so I’ll probably be more careful in buying them.  I will say that the production values of this one are pretty good and far better than the first two I watched, so it’s still better than those.  But yeah, Shudder can have still have its clunkers just like regular horror does so often.


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