Old Tech, New Directors: Our Review of ‘V/H/S/99’

Old Tech, New Directors: Our Review of ‘V/H/S/99’

The latest in the V/H/S series is the first to play TIFF and the Midnight Madness program, and the fifth in the series overall. This time around though the film takes a markedly different spin on the classic ‘wrap around’ story that is usually in place to bookend the small stories and give them some cohesion. Deciding on a more familiar format for those of us who incessantly recorded over and over on their VHS tapes back in the day, this time the film plays like a tape that keeps cutting back to prerecorded content.

The film also features a new cast of directors behind the camera with Maggie Levin, Johannes Roberts, Flying Lotus, Tyler MacIntyre, and Vanessa and Joseph Winter. Levin starts the proceedings with Shredding, a sometimes mean-spirited ghost spin about a punk band. Roberts goes the Mean Girls route with a tale of college hazing entitled Suicide Bid. Ozzy’s Dungeon from Flying Lotus imagines a kid’s game show with a dark secret. MacIntyre serves up a creepy American Pie spin with Gawkers and To Hell and Back from the Winters is exactly what the title says.

As with all anthologies, some work while others are as successful, and V/H/S/99 is no exception. 3 of the tales are basically just terrible people doing terrible things and paying for it, and that can grow tiresome without some interesting context. The film opens with the least successful of segments but ends with a killer performance from Melanie Stone. Overall it was more successful than some of the previous entries for sure.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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