The world of V/H/S is intense, and no, I’m not talking about VHS tapes. I’m talking about the found footage franchise that has captured many hearts. Found footage horror isn’t always taken seriously, and that’s a shame because there are many great films out there. Of course, the entries in the V/H/S franchise vary, and the segments sometimes weigh down the film entirely. And this isn’t a franchise where the first film is at the top, either. I know, shocker!
Therefore, I’m embarking on a journey that involves me ranking these babies. Starting from the bottom and climbing to the top (aka worst to best).
It’s not a new take that V/H/S: Viral is one of the weakest entries in the entire franchise. The segments aren’t all bad either. What makes this entry so weak is its wraparound story that doesn’t feel like it matches the rest of the segments. An ice cream truck that’s riding around and killing people isn’t as interesting as it sounds. And it’s hard to care what happens to characters that are obsessively chasing a truck that can bring them harm.
Typically, the first film in a horror franchise is what people consider to be top tier. Meanwhile, for the V/H/S franchise, that’s just not true. V/H/S’s segments are very hit or miss, with a wraparound story that’s frustrating because the characters are so horrible. Don’t get me wrong, I love villains and antagonists, but these guys just suck. Each segment varies from memorable to middling, only a few are even standouts. It’s a decent enough introduction to the world of V/H/S, but not the best.
Shuffling back to the ‘90s can be a damn good time, and it’s not that V/H/S/99 isn’t a good time. There’s a lot to enjoy about the segments in this entry, and they really embody the tail end of the ‘90s and Y2K in general. There is no wraparound story for this one though, and that does and doesn’t work in its favor. Overall, it’s a fun enough time if you’re a lover of found footage and like absurdity and the flavor of the late ‘90s.
The perfection embodiment of the ‘90s is what V/H/S/94 is, and it gave us some top tier segments. If you’re a big fan of horror video games, more specifically survival horror, then you will get your kicks with this one. The wraparound story comes to a very chaotic conclusion, and that’s a big thumbs up. All of the segments are solid and some will offer different things, including social commentary (some white supremacists get their asses handed to them, and it’s very satisfying). Even if some segments may not be your favorites, they are all unsettling and well-done. Hail Raatma!
The longer a franchise goes on, there is always a possibility that the films start to decrease in quality and consistency. Thankfully, V/H/S/85 actually brings a level of consistency that isn’t present in a few of the entries. Despite its weaker wraparound story, the film as a whole works so well and it’s a wonderfully gory time. If the segments “No Wake/Ambrosia” had been the wraparound story instead, it would have been even better. Otherwise, it’s certainly a necessary watch if you love found footage and enjoy unsettling and weird horror.
Fans praise it and for very good reason, because V/H/S/2 is so good! The wraparound is just fine, and it works as far as being very uncomfortable. But the segments that get gold stars are “A Ride in the Park” and “Safe Haven”, with “Safe Haven” being one of the best horror shorts I have ever seen. The scares are consistent throughout this second entry, and they really capture different levels of terror. Overall, it’s much better than the first film and proved early on what the franchise was capable of.