V/H/S 94: Maybe These Tapes Were Better Returned

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Another batch of V/H/S tapes are found.

I was a fan of the first two V/H/S films but honestly they have really lost there way. This film reminded me a lot of some of the worst aspects of Ti West’s films, though he was not involved, schlocky and over the line for the sake of being over the line. Many of the segments in this anthology are honestly unpleasant to watch, and that is saying something considering I am a big fan of the genre and not much bothers me anymore. It almost seems like they are going out of there way to one up each other on who can be the most depressing and needlessly excessive.

On top of that none of the segments are even particularly good. The best of a bad bunch would be ‘Storm Drain’ by Chloe Okuno, as this was the only one I found myself enjoying: moreover I liked the concept of ‘Rat-Man’. I would say the weakest is ‘The Empty Wake’ by Simon Barrett, a regular contributor, as it is simply dull.

In terms of pacing this film is also troublesome. Some of the segments feel double their length and are honestly hard to get through whilst others feel rushed and not done justice, it is a strange mix but wrong on both fronts.

Overall, maybe don’t give this a sequel.

Pros.

The Storm Drain was interesting

Cons.

Edgy for the sake of it

Hard to watch

Depressing

Pacing issues galore

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Bad Candy: Forget Razor Blades In Your Treats It Is Far Worse Than That

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A myriad of scary stories happening around a small town on Halloween.

I have mixed feelings about anthologies very often they turn out to not be very good and one particularly poor segment can easily ruin the whole thing. However, here I found the good to outweigh the bad and the wider creepy atmosphere to bring all of the film’s parts together in a nice cohesive way, even the weaker parts.

Now, I won’t say every part of this film is great there are several earlier segments that are incredibly forgettable. Moreover, the effects are never very good, but in that lies a certain B movie esque charm, you can tell they are trying there best with what they have available.

The best thing for me about this film was the imagery that it creates, whether it is the detailed segment on the man that stuffs razor blades into kids Halloween treats or the vampire/ demon creature that along with his army buddies hunts down wrongdoers over the course of the evening. The film manages to make both original and classic concepts feel fresh and interesting, the segment about the old man lacing chocolate with chemicals was particularly effective, as was his punishment.

Overall, a surprisingly strong horror anthology that holds up despite some weaker elements.

Pros.

A few good memorable scares

Most of the segments work

The performances are good

Cons.

A few of the segments are on the weaker side

The effects look rough

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Doors: This Is A Closed Door For Josh Peck’s Career

Written by Luke Barnes

Doors is a science fiction anthology film. The plot revolves around alien doors suddenly appearing all over Earth, and when people walk into these doors they face their greatest fears as well as alternate versions of themselves and other such nightmarish frights.

I want to put my vote in on this being the most pretentious science fiction film of 2021 now as barring something spectacularly up its own arse, nothing is topping this film.

So where to begin with this one. Firstly, it is never made clear that this is an anthology film, you get the feeling as the film goes along that it might be one, but you can’t shake the feeling that maybe, it is all supposed to flow together and that you missed something. That is this films greatest problem, it thinks it is far more clever then it actually is, in actual fact it is a masterclass in how not to write science fiction. The structure, pacing and even the dialogue in this film serve to be off putting.

The perfect encapsulation of this point is the ending that tries to play itself off as grand and meaningful when in fact it actually just leaves you going ‘really’, it makes Annihilation’s ending look better. Disappointing is to light of a word for this.  

Overall, it was nice to see Josh Peck back on our screens for one fleeting moment, sadly he hitched his horse to a stinker here.

Pros.

Josh Peck

A few interesting ideas

It is unsettling

Cons.

It is incredibly pretentious

It is boring

It doesn’t make sense

2/5

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To The New Girl: The Conversations You Wish You Could Have

To The New Girl is a drama anthology film directed by Adriana Gonzalez Vega, Aurora J. Culver and Amika Leigh. The plot sees various women scorned address their exes and their new lovers in a powerful open mic night, to be remembered through the ages.

Films like this are important, as they give voices to new talent: specifically in this case female talent that might not otherwise have had the chance to write/direct/star in a film like this. We need more films like this if we ever hope to make filmmaking truly open for everyone.

This film is brutally honest, I mean that as a compliment, it does not pull its punches. It tells things like they are for a lot of women and shows how things like cheating and infidelity can really hurt a person on a deep emotional level, if nothing else this film is true.

The open mic format makes it quite unlike anything else I’ve seen recently and really adds a sense of personality to the film whilst also giving it more of an intimate feel. You really connect with these women telling their stories which help you to empathise with them thereby giving there stories more impact. It is multi-layered

Overall, I applaud this film for being as direct and forging a repour between performer and audience member and for being bold enough to tell the truth.

Pros.

The novel format

Supporting new voices

Creates a personal connection with the audience

Brutal and honest

Cons.

It becomes a bit repetitive after a while

4/5

Reviewed by Luke  

All Hallows Eve 2: Send In The Clowns

All Hallows Eve 2 is a horror anthology film directed by multiple people. The plot once again focus on a babysitter, this time played by Andrea Monier, who finds a VHS tape on Halloween. Once played the tape reveals several different tales of terror that the woman watches; while outside she is being stalked by a man in a pumpkin mask.

This film does not have a patch on the original. Nowhere near. Like many anthology films it is hit and miss, some of the segments such as the final one are good, even interesting, but some of them are awful. There is one about a kid that is scared of the monster under his bed and guess what the monster turn out to be real, it is dull, and it almost sent me to sleep. So as you can see it is a mixed bag.

A pro I will say about the film, is it kept consistent. By that I mean some horror anthologies will have one segment by light and jokey, another dark and brooding and then another comical one, the issue for me with that approach is that it feels jarring, it doesn’t feel connected and natural which a good horror anthology like Trick ‘R Treat  understands is very important. This film for the most part kept a consistent tone, so I will applaud them for that.

The real issue with this film, the reason why it is such a lacklustre follow-up is because it is missing something? What? Why the clown of course. Art the Clown was the highlight and breakout star of the first film and his absents here is felt; it breaks the film. Not a single one of the new monsters or villains can hope to fill Art’s comically oversized blood-stained shoes.

Overall, it is passably okay, it varies in quality, but none of it is standout. Art the Clowns absents meant this film never really had a chance. Very unsurprisingly the film is lame.

Pros.

It is passable horror watching.

Some of the segments are cool.

Cons.

It is a mixed bag.

They really need Art The Clown back if they’re going to make another one of these.

A lot of the segments are dull and uninspired.

2/5

Reviewed by Luke

The ABC’s Of Death: Bring Back Moral Panics!

The ABCs Of Death is a 26-part horror anthology film with each segment being directed by a different person and being about a different letter of the alphabet.  The film features such popular directors as Adam Wingard and Ben Wheatley.

Before I get into the review in depth, I just want to say don’t watch this film! I understand the need in cinema, especially in the horror genre, to be shocking and boundary pushing, but this film is just cheap shock value, it has no class, no taste, it is just edgy for the sake of being edgy. An example of my point, in Ti West’s segment M Is For Miscarriage the whole point of the story is a women looking for a plunger to push her stillborn kid down the toilet, there is nothing more to it than that, it is handled poorly and with questionable taste; also that is one of the more tame examples from this anthology.

There are plenty of other segments that feature, rape, paedophilia, illusions to bestiality, dog fighting and many other horrible things, not one of them is handled with any taste, it is all shock for shock value. Surprisingly one of the ones I just mentioned the dog fighting one directed by Marcel Sarmiento, is probably the one with the most taste; that is not something I expected to be writing this morning.

I can break down the shorts into 4 categories, good or at least well done, these are the segments by Wingard, Wheatly, Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Lee Hardcastle and Banjong Pisanthanakun. The weird stuff this includes the furry segment, the farting segment and the final segment. The average/ boring stuff, this includes the surfing segment and the life cycle one and then the offensively bad/ done in poor taste, which includes most everything else. So as you can see it is truly a mixed bag, with very few well done segments.

Finally, unlike something like V/H/S where are all of the segments worked together, they were separate and individual, but they all had the same feel and tone, the tone in this film is wildly all over the place, you have really dark unpleasant segments, followed by light and fluffy stuff and it is jarring to say the least.

Overall, this has been one of the toughest films I have watched recently and not only do I not recommend it, I advise you to stay away from it, you could probably find more cultured nuanced horror on Youtube. A black mark on some of the biggest names in horror.

Pros.

There is about 5/26 good segments.

Cons.

Most of the segments are horrible.

It is incredibly hard to watch.

It is done in such poor taste I would call it offensive.

The tonal inconsistencies and also the lack of effort by some, looking at you Ti West.

1/5