V/H/S 99 (2022) – Film Review

vhs 99 film review

Directors: Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre
Cast: Jesse LaTourette, Keanush Tafreshi, Dashiell Derrickson
Certificate: 18

By Sarah Morgan

Here’s an odd thought – there will be some people who watch this low-budget horror who have never seen anything on VHS. In fact, they might not even be sure what it is. And yet the generation who grew up with either DVDs or streaming are probably its target audience.

vhs 99 film review coverThe film is the latest instalment in the V/H/S franchise, which is part of the seemingly never-ending found footage genre. Although each entry has received, at best, only mixed reviews from critics, fans have largely loved them. Indeed, when the most recent entry, V/H/S 99 was released as a Shudder Original last October, it became the streaming service’s most-viewed premiere, beating the record set by its predecessor, V/H/S 94.


The number signifies the year in which the film is set; I’m stating this because although the date does pop up on screen, it’s not obvious that it’s 1999 – the fashions are back in at the moment, while the eyebrows on the female characters are definitely 21st century.

Five stories appear in total, each supposedly recorded on one tape; those who remember tracking to gain the best possible picture will instantly get a blast from the past as each tale ends and another begins – the break is signified by a crackled, snow-covered screen.

The opener involves a punk rock band who pull stunts and pranks. However, their latest, which involves performing a gig at a venue where an all-female group were killed during a fire, goes horribly wrong. It’s followed by a female student’s ill-fated desire to join a particular university sorority group.

Next, a family takes revenge on a TV presenter who ruined their daughter’s life, before a gorgon attacks a group of teenage peeping Toms. Finally, a pair of best friends’ efforts to film a ritual being carried out by a coven of witches leads to them being sent on a journey they’re unlikely to forget.

vhs 99 film review horror

“Supernatural element”

There’s also a sort of linking segment involving a stop-motion animation featuring toy soldiers; this was my favourite part of the entire film – I could take or leave the stories, but could have watched more of that.

The cast members are unknowns, which means there’s no signalling of who’s going to live and who will die; if a star had been present, we’d stand a better chance of guessing how things would pan out. That is, of course, a good thing, but I’d also have preferred it there wasn’t a desire to shoehorn a supernatural element into every tale – there are times, particularly in the sorority segment, when it would have worked better without it.

The disc carries various special features for those who want to know more about the production, and if you enjoy the whole project, you’re in luck – a sequel, V/H/S 85, has already been made.

Special Effects6
V/H/S/99 comes to Blu-ray, DVD and digital on 27 March 2023, from Acorn Media International

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