aaron’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm sorry, but at this point, no other found-footage franchise works as well as V/H/S.
As a franchise, one thing I've noticed with V/H/S is that the films are commendably committed to delivering a genuinely unpolished visual style. Whilst a majority of found-footage movies forget the importance of visuals, V/H/S/94 refreshingly does not.
Each segment has its own uniquely unsettling visual style, ranging from grainy to glitchy, and all are a joy to watch. I'm telling you, if I wanted a proper "film" aesthetic I wouldn't be watching a found-footage movie to begin with.
Like my favourite V/H/S films, V/H/S/94 pairs these visuals with an abundance of truly grotesque gore, devised by a pleasing fusion of practical and CGI effects. Seriously, if gore and creature effects are something you're passionate about, not a single one of these shorts will be a letdown.
Personally, the most obnoxious type of found footage film is one where nothing happens. Where you're stuck for over an hour and a half watching people live their lives until an underdeveloped climax and a rushed ending.
I can safely say that V/H/94 does not share such a problem.
Whilst there are a few similar setups, what allows V/H/S to outdo its found-footage peers is through its anthology setup. V/H/S/94 utilises its shorter runtime to execute a film that is more palatable, entertaining and well-paced than the majority of your standard found-footage fare.
But is it scary?
Whilst I can't say that there's a short film that's as terrifying as Amateur Night or Safe Haven, V/H/S/94 does have the advantage of containing no singular "bad" segment. That's not to say I don't have my issues with some of them, but as a whole, the film is substantially more cohesive in quality.
And yes, it is a scary movie. Not outstandingly so, but tense enough that I was impressed. Also, the jump-scares... Haven't seen a film use them so effectively in a while. I'd be lying if I said the first one didn't scare me.
Anyways, let's talk about the segments individually for a bit:
Holy Hell (Frame Narrative)
Like most V/H/S frame narratives, Holy Hell is my least favourite segment. I adored the gore, the visual style and the ominous atmosphere, but some of the acting and plot developments in its final moments were really... not it.
Eerie, gory and possibly the segment which scared me the most. It was a lot of fun, and the inclusion of an 'in-film' advertisement was such a nice touch. Like a few others, the acting was slightly off, but not enough for it to be a real issue.
The Empty Wake
This one starts off a bit slow, but, once again, the atmosphere is incredible. It's the slightest bit predictable, regardless of it still being well executed.
Honestly might be the best segment of the film. Whilst the visuals aren't as 'in line' with the rest of the film, the effects work and (surprisingly) the emotion displayed in such a short time was highly commendable.
I adore where this one ends up, and its premise is so bizarre that I kinda can't help being impressed. Like The Empty Wake, it did start off slightly slow, but the premise and the ending manage to hold everything together.
My favourite V/H/S movie? Probably. I hope they make more.