V/H/S 85 continues the wonderful new trend of setting the series in a specific year. This change has given new life to a series that was pretty viciously mocked online when they were first releasing and I’m happy to see it. I never thought they deserved the hate they got.
Total Copy by David Bruckner is the wraparound story this time and out of all the V/H/S movies it’s my least favourite. It’s done as a news report about a shape shifting creature but it never seems to go anywhere or do anything. It just drags. It’s a pretty cool concept but the execution is lacking. Bruckner has a solid track record in the V/H/S series and just fell flat this time.
We move onto our first segment No Wake by Mike Nelson. This was probably my favourite one. We see a group of teenagers head to an abandoned campground to have fun only to be hunted down for amusement. It’s funny, it’s silly, it doesn’t take itself seriously at all and it ties into another segment coming up beautifully. The camera work is also 10/10 accurate for 1985.
Up next is God of Death by Gigi Saul Guerrero. This is the story of an earthquake happening during a news broadcast that becomes something much, much darker. I was a really big fan of the execution here. Gigi Saul Guerrero is pretty can’t-miss as a director and nails it again here. The gore was great, the pacing was excellent and I enjoyed the story it told about old cultures being buried underneath new ones.
Up next is TKNOGD by Natasha Kermani. I really enjoyed seeing a segment about the horrors of technology set in 1985. This one is pretty short but it’s very stylish, wonderfully acted and perfectly executed. Now that I’m sitting down to write this, it’s my favourite of the bunch.
Ambrosia by Mike Nelson is up next and it continues the narrative set in No Wake. Another nice and short segment with a great payoff.
Final segment is Dreamkill by Scott Derrickson and Robert C Cargill. I’ll be honest, I did not care for this segment at all. The visuals did less than nothing for me and it dragged on for way too long. If I was going to give V/H/S 85 a score out of 10 this segment alone would have dropped that score by at least 4 points. I love Derrickson and Cargill but this one was just bad.
Overall, there were a lot of good ideas in V/H/S 85. When it hits, it’s a fun ride and when it doesn’t it drains the goodwill earned by the other segments away to almost nothing. At a total runtime of 1 hour 51 minutes you get the feeling that they could (and probably should) have trimmed about 20 minutes out. My final verdict is that it’s worth watching if you’re a fan of the series and maybe skip it if you’re not.