Today I am going to be ranking the V/H/S franchise! If you didn’t know, these found footage movies follow a series of individual clips containing unspeakable horrors. In between the shorts, a single frame narrative builds to a terrifying climax. Last month, V/H/S/99 was released and in 2023, we are getting 85. In my opinion, the films appear to be getting better and better. I’m sure my list will be controversial but I’m going to share anyway! Without further ado, let’s get into it!
In first place, we have V/H/S/94! This is by far the best movie in the franchise and from what I’ve seen, the majority online agree. It does a fantastic job of placing you right in the middle of 1994, with a great soundtrack and nostalgic visuals. My favourite short is Storm Drain, which follows a news reporter investigating a local legend in the city’s sewer tunnels. What she finds down there is truly horrific. All I can say is: “Hail Raatma!” I also believe that this installment in the series has the most gripping frame narrative. I really enjoyed/dreaded watching it progress. I could have done without Terror, but Empty Wake and The Subject were thoroughly entertaining. If you only watch one V/H/S film, let it be this one!
Now it’s time to get controversial. In second place, we have V/H/S/99, which came out just last month. I told a friend that I firmly believe I am the only person in existence to like this movie. I have only read terrible reviews, which makes me wonder if I watched the same thing as everybody else. I understand that viewers were disappointed by the lack of Y2K content and that the film felt rushed but compared to the rest of the franchise (as you’ll see down below), this one was pretty solid. Also, this installment did not have a traditional frame narrative, but that didn’t bother me. My favourite short was Suicide Bid, which follows a teenage girl desperate to be accepted into a sorority. She is dared by the club members to spend the night in a sealed coffin underground, only to discover she isn’t alone. If you came for the 90’s nostalgia, I recommend you check out Ozzy’s Dungeon and nothing else. It reminded me of those kid’s game shows I used to watch with my grandmother – minus the horrific elements added in. Shredding and The Gawkers were just okay but To Hell and Back made good use of physical effects and convinced me that the underworld would look exactly as it was portrayed. Overall, I liked it and am willing to die on that hill!
In third place, we have V/H/S/2. The sequel in my opinion was a big step-up from the first film. Phase I Clinical Trials and Safe Haven were the best shorts. I would have loved to have seen both made into feature length episodes. Personally, I didn’t like that we had multiple zombie stories in this movie. A Ride in the Park was just gross. I’m not a fan of the undead at the best of times, so this brought my review down a couple of stars. Having said that, it had a better ratio of decent stories and succeeded in creating quite a chilling frame narrative. That ending gave me a good jump!
In second last place, we have the original film. There is something about the entire V/H/S franchise as a whole that gives off a very frat-boyish vibe to me. We see lots of female nudity, alcohol and partying. I’m not a prude but it does feel like an excuse at times to see boobs. That was my biggest issue with this movie. It was quite big on sexual assault and in almost every short, a girl would get topless. It wasn’t necessary. Amateur Night was the only redeeming feature of this installment. I was so bored by Second Honeymoon, Tuesday the 17th, The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger and 10/31/98. Overall, the entire thing left a sour taste in my mouth.
5.) V/H/S: VIRAL
Despite my less than stellar review of V/H/S, nothing could even come close to being as terrible as Viral. I was told it was a disaster and can now personally attest to that! First of all, this is the glitchiest film in the franchise. The camera is constantly blurring, shaking and going out of focus. This is to be expected in a found footage movie but not every single second. It happened far too often. Secondly, the acting was awful. I was laughing at how bad it was. We had one story about a magician’s evil cloak that had me cringing the entire time, plus a segment with a lot of potential about parallel universes that turned into humans with killer genitalia! Furthermore, the frame narrative was bizarre, to the point of nonsense. I didn’t understand the creepy boyfriend, constantly filming his girlfriend. None of it worked. I would feel bad, but IMDB gave it a 4.2/10. If that doesn’t give you an indicator of how it was received by the general public, nothing will.
What did you think of my ranking? Do you agree? How would you list them? Thank you so much for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo