By Casey Campbell
I jinxed it. Or I went in with sky high expectations.
Or, it just wasn’t very good.
V/H/S/94 just came out on Shudder and it’s the fourth entry in the series. My reviews of the first two are on the site, and I won’t be reviewing V/H/S Viral.
Hell, I won’t even be reviewing this movie too much due to the mediocre final product of it all. And that’s really disappointing. From the wrap around story to each individual short, the whole production seems either rushed or severely hindered by COVID-19 restrictions or budget. I’m leaning on the former, as the prior films weren’t exactly big budget spectacles.
The first and second stories in the anthology, “Storm Drain” and “The Empty Wake” respectively, are the two that seemed to keep me energized and enthusiastic.
“Storm Drain” shows uncut footage from a broadcast journalist and her cameraman attempting to create a package for air. The journalist wants the piece to be about the disenfranchised living within the storm drain, rather than the proposed story of the notorious “Rat Man.” The journalist character was well intentioned but headache inducingly stupid. The short is filled with choking atmosphere and ends in an extremely entertaining way.
“The Empty Wake” sees Simon Barrett returning to the franchise. It had a questionable introduction, showing a new employee at a funeral home tasked with being the sole employee in charge of a night wake (at least it seemed like it was at night? Which doesn’t really happen, at least not one that runs all night…). The atmosphere really shines in this one, as the scares are from the things that go bump in the night, or should I say the casket.
It’s decently well paced but some of the motivations for staying in the funeral home are hackneyed and forced. The end makes up for any of the qualms, and the effects actually looked quite good.
Otherwise, Timo Tjahjanto’s short was overly reliant on CG effects (and a point) and the final short just seemed to meander in no real direction.
The V/H/S series is still fun, and it’s absolutely nothing to be taken seriously. Whether due to the obvious problems with putting together consistent quality short films into a greater whole during a pandemic, or budgetary constraints, V/H/S/94 never seems to land every attempt they make.