Thursday, March 7, 2024

V/H/S/85 (2023)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: V/H/S/85 (2023) 
Genre: Horror, Thriller 
Length:  110min 
Rating: TV-MA
Directors: David Bruckner, Scott Derrickson, Natasha Kermani, Mike P. Nelson, Gigi Saul Guerrero 
Writers: C. Robert Cargill, Zoe Cooper, Scott Derrickson, Evan Dickson, Mike P. Nelson, Gigi Saul Guerrero 
Actors: Freddy Rodríguez, Kelli Garner, James Ransone, Jordan Belfi, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Dani Deetté, Mark Sipka, Andrew Ghai, Anna Sundberg, Shelby Steel, Chelsey Grant, Tyler Noble, Gabriela Roel, Chivonne Michelle, Justen Jones, Florencia Ríos, Dashiell Derrickson, Toussaint Morrison, Marcio Moreno, Alex Galick, Ari Gallegos, Eric Pierson, Gerardo Oñate, Forrest Hartl, Dana DeRuyck, Evie Bair, Duffy McManus, Felipe de Lara, Tom Reed, Brent Picha, Renee Werbowski, José María Higareda, Bryan McDonald, Christopher Gasser, Murray Nelson, Anna Hashizume, Nicholas Krekeler 
IMDb Blurb: Unveiled through a made-for-TV documentary, five tales of found footage horror emerge to take viewers on a terrifying journey into the grim underbelly of the 1980s. 
Cat’s Point of View: 
While I haven’t always jived with every segment featured in the anthology franchise, the V/H/S (2012) movies have been a fun experience, over all. It’s like unpacking a “blind box” of film shorts. Sometimes there are things in the box that you don’t necessarily care for, but the rest is an enjoyable surprise. V/H/S/85 was the latest installment in this cinematic series, and I was enthusiastic to open up this mystery bundle.
I have mentioned before (and probably will again) that I absolutely love to watch productions set in the 1980s. I’m an 80s baby and so the decade is full of warm fuzzy nostalgia. Of course, we’re talking about a horror anthology here with V/H/S/85 so there really isn’t anything ‘warm and fuzzy’ about it. The little details that placed it within the 80s, however, not only helped me immerse myself within the collected found footage features, but it also gave me a little comfort touchstone – like wrapping up in a blanket while watching the scary movie.
Speaking of scary, I can’t say that I was chilled to the bone by any of these stories, but they were all interesting and well executed for the most part.
Gigi Saul Guerrero’s (Mistress of Bones, Bingo Hell, Satanic Hispanics) "God of Death" segment felt right at home as footage from a TV studio in the 80s and it captured the essence of the real event it was loosely framed around… with a twist. Scott Derrickson’s (Sinister, Doctor Strange, The Black Phone) "Dreamkill" segment was one of my favorites. Not only did this short distill the essence of the 80s well, it was also disturbing beyond the blood and gore. Natasha Kermani (The Samaritan, Imitation Girl, Lucky) "TKNOGD" segment gave all the right early computer graphics feels while incorporating a horror element into performance art. Mike P. Nelson’s (The Domestics, Studio Luma, Wrong Turn) "No Wake" & "Ambrosia" segments probably were the ‘winners’ for me. These 2 segments resonated in a different way than the others and held more subtle horror in addition to the overt elements involved.
I don’t know that the over-arching story the individual short films were sprinkled throughout connected as well to the segments as in some prior V/H/S offerings. I understood what David Bruckner’s (Southbound, The Night House, Hellraiser) "Total Copy" segment was going for, but couldn’t help have a bit of a disconnect with it. It was perhaps a combination of my own internal question of ‘but why, though?’ in regards to each of these ‘discovered’ home-videos watched within that narrative and some of the visual choices that just didn’t resonate with me. It wasn’t “bad,” per se… it just wasn’t as effective over-all for me.
That being said, V/H/S/85 was still absolutely worth the watch. This was, in fact, my second time watching this anthology as I’d tuned in as soon as it had released on Shudder last year. If you like horror anthologies, this franchise still remains a decided go-to. 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 74% 
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 70% 
Metascore – 53%
Metacritic User Score – 5.8/10 
IMDB Score – 5.6/10 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5 
Movie Trailer: