V/H/S/85 (2023)

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V/H/S/ 85 Bluray

V/H/S/85 (2023)
Available on Blu-rayDVD and digital

Hot on the tail of V/H/S/94, we’re taken back to the 80’s with more tales of terror in V/H/S/85.

Encapsulating the look and feel of the 80’s, horror anthology V/H/S/85 takes us on a VHS trip, dipping its toe into supernatural territory whilst providing nods to familiar tropes of genre cinema.

As with each V/H/S instalment, there’s a wraparound film that bookmarks the shorts and in this particular release, we’re treated to David Bruckner’s Total Copy – a TV documentary on a scientist who took his passion too far when his project named Rory, a slime-covered entity who can mimic other things, starts to transform into one of the Doctor’s colleagues. With a hint of Body Snatcher‘s about it, it left me curious as to how this blob on the couch would morph into a human and what would that mean for his real-life counterpart.

Following on from this slice of sci-fi, we’re treated to something more familiar in nature. Mike P. Nelson’s short film No Wake sees a group of friends head out to a lake in their RV for some afternoon fun. The fact that the sign has been torn down, suggesting that swimming is forbidden in the area, is a red flag for the viewers but not-so-much the characters, and off they trot for a bit of water skiing fun with deadly consequences. This bloody excursion is shocking and brutal in equal measures and wonderfully sets up the following movies.

A Mexican news station is rocked by tremors in Gigi Saul Guerrero’s God of Death. Filthy, fun and confident, middle-aged news anchor Lucia maintains her composure throughout as the news segment turns sour thanks to events happening locally. As her cameraman flees with emergency rescuers after the ceiling collapses in the studio, the quest for survival intensifies in more ways than one…

The development of technology is scary enough now, post-Millennium, even having lived with it so long, but the idea of where the experimental nature could go is explored with dire consequences in Natasha Kermani’s TKNOGD. As Ada Lovelace, a performance artist, takes to the stage to denounce the rise of technology, especially those who use tech to immerse themselves into the digital world to have a physical, tactile presence there. As people turn from traditional religion and Gods, to that of technology, her performance piece goes someway of exploring this. But for the audience, the line between performance, tech and reality begins to blur.

A family celebration reveals something sinister in Ambrosia, Mike P. Nelson’s second segment of this V/H/S instalment. The way in which this gathering of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents turns sour is unexpected and works incredibly well, leaving this film fan wanting more…

Finally, concluding the short films within this anthology is Scott Derrickson’s Dreamkill that sees Detective Wayne Johnson investigate murder scenes of which he’d seen days before they occurred on a videotape sent to the station, but how can that be unless the culprit is a time traveller? There’s more to this than meets the eye and the detective decides to unlock the secrets to this disturbing case.

Shrugging off the overt gore and shock elements for something a bit more refined, V/H/S/85 contains a great mix of different types of storytelling. Slasher infused tales with a sprinkle of sci-fi, natural disasters, deities, technology and mythology, this anthology instalment might be the most eclectic yet. Most of the segments capture the look and feels of the decade they’re mimicking, with fashion and hairstyles on point, not to mention the quality of the footage. There’s plenty of the red stuff flowing too, but when it needs too, and this is done effectively to make you believe that what you’re seeing is the real deal.

As a whole, V/H/S/85 is another solid entry following in the footsteps of V/H/S/94. I particularly enjoyed the various inspirations of the filmmakers in this instalment which added a different flavour to it compared to the others – something perhaps more traditional with more dependence on the art of storytelling rather than trying to freak out the viewer with a set piece, with nods to familiar aspects of horror cinema we’ve known to love throughout the years. As with 94′, V/H/S/85 has taken a step in the right direction to engage audiences with a series of short films that feel different and exciting to watch. I hope that the franchise continues in this direction of exploring all sides of horror.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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About Bat 4389 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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