Thursday, October 21, 2021

V/H/S/94 – review

Director: Ryan Prows

Release date: 2021

Contains spoilers

When I reviewed the original V/H/S my review proved itself to be controversial with some – but the segment that had vampiric overtones was one that I still feel justified looking at (although I might have edged my bets and looked at it under ‘Use of Tropes’ had I created that type of article at the time). This is the fourth of the series and takes the conceit that the segments are captured on video tape and, in this case, are seen by cops raiding a warehouse that seemed to house a video-death-cult whose members have plucked their own eyes out.

holing cell

The segment that interests us is Terror. This is a conceptually interesting one as it is definitely situated in the 90s – Clinton is mentioned as president – but has a quite modern subject, following as it does a cell of homegrown, survivalist/redneck terrorists. The film seems to be their manifesto, showing their preparation for an attack on a federal building. But early on something grabs our attention. The commander enters a room with a prisoner (Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Valemont) and shoots him dead. The wall around the holding area is covered in crosses (simply constructed) and what might be (but is obscured due to the VHS quality) garlic (it is).

rabbit goes boom

It gave me pause to thought, but might be missed by the casual viewer. However, when, later, they shoot the prisoner again… well now it becomes a thing. Indeed they kill the prisoner frequently and also speak about a secret weapon and, when they scope out the federal building, they talk about sunlight. They are shooting and collecting the vampire’s blood and intend to use it as a weapon. But they haven’t tested it. To do so they get a rabbit, inject it with vampire blood and wait for the sun… the explosion is massive, I mean these vampires really go boom.

the terror cell

The militia show a staggering amount of incompetence at times and so, of course, the vampire gets loose. The vampire has a split mouth thing going on with a monstrous set of teeth – which at first sight looks great but in other shots not so much and the bite after-effect sfx is poor – this fits in with a 90s video theme but not so much as these are meant to be horrors from real life. An interesting part was to have a sympathetic cop (Dru Viergever) also appear in the wraparound, offering a continuity between segments.

the vampire

The section Terror wasn’t bad – vampire mouth/bite sfx notwithstanding – the explosive nature of vampire blood was amusing and the general idea worked well. However, the segment was too short to allow the character and incompetence of the terror cell to be fully explored and this had room, with some smart writing, for expansion. My favourite section was one titled The Subject. As ever the score is for the vampire segment and not the whole film. 5.5 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Shudder via Amazon US

On Demand @ Shudder via Amazon UK

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