Home > V/H/S/94 (2021): A Review

V/H/S/94 (2021): A Review

V/H/S/94

We Need to Talk About V/H/S/94

In October of 2021, Directors Timo Tjahjanto, Simon Barrett, and Jennifer Reeder released the fourth installment in their V/H/S series, known infamously as V/H/S/94 (2021). Unlike many of the recent popular horror films, V/H/S/94 is a found-footage anthology horror film surrounding multiple snuff films circulated to an audience by a film cult. While the movie begins on an extremely terrifying note, by the end there have been enough storylines and horrible special effects to make even the worst B movie fans shudder.

The first clip of the anthology horror might be the most terrifying, with the storyline following a news story known as the Rat Man. When reporter Holly (Anna Hopkins) and her cameraman Jeff (Christina Potenza) get too curious about covering the story, they run into a sudden and horrifying end. Within these clips, there is a humanoid creature known only as “Raatma,” who seems to be a being of worship for those who live in the drain under the city. The ear-piercing noise that comes from what can only be assumed as the mouth of Raatma is enough to leave viewers awake for days on end. 

What is so unfortunate about this film, though, is how the magnificent scare-factor and special effects only lasted for the single “Storm Drain” section. Every time a new snuff film was introduced, the effects seemed to dwindle in quality, eventually plummeting to the bottom with the section known as “The Subject.” In what can only be described as a horrible fever dream mixed with the effects of a mid-2000’s zombie video game, a doctor is doing unimaginable procedures to his “patients,” attaching body parts to machinery in hopes to produce a superhuman creature. In the midst of his madness, he is caught by the government and bloodshed ensues. This entire sequence sticks out like a sore thumb in the film, looking more like it belongs in the middle of a Call of Duty: Zombies game than any actual scary movie. While the concept for the section was interesting, it lacked a certain realness needed to immerse the audience in the plot.

V/H/S/94

Slowly, the plot tried to redeem itself with one of the final segments, known as “Terror,” which was found footage surrounding a right-wing extremist group known as the First Patriots Movement Militia. It is clear that the cult’s values are founded upon cleansing earth of evil in God’s name, but the method to their madness is truly confusing. They seem to be in the middle of a mixture of zombification and explosion device, creating some kind of serum that has a reaction to sunlight. It is easy to see their creative inspiration and the special effects definitely seem more real, but the concept for this segment is cut short and seems rather cloudy. Sadly, this cloudiness and confusion was a theme that runs through the entire film.

The cinematography in the film was a detail that easily sets V/H/S/94 apart from the countless horror films produced in 2021. The VHS tape-like quality makes the found footage all the more authentic instead of making it seem cheaply filmed. The only scene where this effect damages the quality of the film is in “The Subject,” making it seem more like a video game play through. This found footage concept is different, yet definitely relates back to the groundbreaking aesthetic of The Blair Witch Project (1999). If the film would have only kept the consistency of the found footage vibe then maybe it would have been a little more cohesive. 

While V/H/S/94 is a strong attempt to revive a once revolutionary subgenre of horror, it falls short in consistency and special effects. The found footage anthology horror film takes a lot to perfect to ensure its effectiveness and coherency. With the exception of “Storm Drain,” V/H/S/94 falls short of expectations and leaves audiences confused after watching. Taking the idea of the Rat Man and running with it could have taken the film in an entirely different and productive direction, but unfortunately we will never know what could have been.

V/H/S/94

V/H/S/94 (2021) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Intern Article Writer | Website | Posts

Sadie is an Intern Article Writer and Senior English Major at the University of Central Arkansas. In her spare time, she enjoys watching horror movies, reading, and spending time with her guinea pigs, Ginger and Spike.