V/H/S/85 on Shudder is the latest chapter in the V/H/S horror anthology franchise. For me, this is perhaps the best one yet. Of course, there are still some segments, I enjoyed more than others. However, the ones I liked, I liked a lot. Read our full V/H/S/85 movie review here – watch on Shudder now!

V/H/S/85 is on Shudder now, and fans of the V/H/S horror anthology franchise should enjoy this latest installment. I’ve enjoyed several of the previous releases, but this one just hit a lot stronger for me. Not every segment or short film was spot-on for me, but that might have more to do with personal preference.

More importantly, the segments I did like, I really enjoyed a lot. If you’ve enjoyed the concept so far, then you have a real treat in store with this 1985 installment. If nothing else, this was also a place in time where VHS was actually the key source of both entertainment and recording.

Continue reading our V/H/S/85 movie review below. Find the movie on Shudder from October 6, 2023.

The concept is more valid than ever

As already mentioned, I find the whole VHS found footage concept more valid with this installment simply because it takes place in 1985. The core plot is still that a strange VHS mixtape is found. On the tape, you’ll see everything from snuff footage and nightmarish newscasts to very disturbing home videos.

MORE FROM THE V/H/S FRANCHISE

The previous V/H/S/ installment which took place in 1994 >

The segments in V/H/S/85 are directed by five directors with the wrap-around segment “Total Copy” coming from David Bruckner (Hellraiser 2022). This was definitely one of the better wrap-around stories I’ve seen in horror anthologies, which is a win in itself.

Apart from the “Total Copy” segment by David Bruckner, which continues throughout the anthology as is the purpose of a wrap-around story, we get four separate segments. However, they are actually connected in some ways, so keep your eye out for the connections.

V/H/S/85 – Review | Shudder Horror Anthology

The segments and directors of V/H/S/85

The first real segment of V/H/S/85 is called “No Wake” and comes from director Mike P. Nelson (Wrong Turn 2021 reboot). This one feels like a classic horror movie that just might have been made in 1985. In other words, it works perfectly for this anthology and was one of my favorite segments. Also, it continues and ties into another story as the segment continues with a focus on what “VII” is.

We move on to “God of Death” by director Gigi Saul Guerrero (Bingo Hell). This segment is in Spanish and takes place in Mexico City, Mexico. The details of the year 1985 and the mention of Mexico City might ring a bell for some.

In case it doesn’t for you, I can give you a clue; There was a huge earthquake in Mexico City in 1985. And yes, this does play into the “God of Death” segment. I wasn’t crazy about it as a story in itself, but I did appreciate using a real tragedy and trying to make some sort of sense of it via a horror story. Also, director Gigi Saul Guerrero stars in the story as the TV reporter Gabriela.

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The segment of “TKNOGD” was directed by Natasha Kermani (Lucky), and plays out as an actual play. Or actually, we see a woman performing a one-woman play on the stage in front of just a few people in the crowd. This evolves in a very intense way, but I kept getting distracted by the fact that the technology felt totally wrong for 1985. There’s virtual reality and graphics that seem far too good for 1985.

I might just be geeking out or not realizing that virtual reality and video game graphics were much better in 1985, but having been a kid in the 1980s, I don’t really think so. A real shame, as I loved director Natasha Kermani’s 2020 feature film Lucky.

Watch V/H/S/85 on Shudder now!

Finally, there’s the “Dreamkill” segment by director Scott Derrickson. Despite it being very warpy at times (due to some weird recordings, we get to watch), it turned out to be pretty damn amazing. Also, there’s a link to Scott Derrickson’s horror hit movie The Black Phone. A character named “Gwen” is referred to and Derrickson has confirmed that this does indeed refer to the awesome little sister named Gwen in The Black Phone (2021).

The “Dreamkill” segment is the last one shown apart from wrapping up the wrap-around story. For most of the segments, the directors are also the writers, but not always. For good measure, here are the writers of all five segments in the V/H/S/85 anthology: Zoe Cooper, Evan Dickson, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Mike P. Nelson, and Gigi Saul Guerrero.

As always, there’s also a brilliant cast. It includes Jordan Belfi, Freddy Rodriguez, James Ransone, Dani Deetté, Rolando Davila-Beltran, Justen Jones, Marcio Moreno, Ari Gallegos, Forrest Hartl, Duffy McManus, Eric Pierson, Felipe de Lara, Tom Reed, and Vivian Morse.

As already mentioned, this is perhaps my favorite installment in the V/H/S/85 franchise, so I obviously recommend that you check it out.

V/H/S/85 premieres on Shudder on October 6, 2023.

Details

Directors: David Bruckner, Scott Derrickson, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Natasha Kermani, and Mike P. Nelson
Writers: Zoe Cooper, Evan Dickson, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Mike P. Nelson, Gigi Saul Guerrero
Cast: Jordan Belfi, Freddy Rodriguez, James Ransone, Dani Deetté, Rolando Davila-Beltran, Justen Jones, Marcio Moreno, Ari Gallegos, Forrest Hartl, Duffy McManus, Eric Pierson, Felipe de Lara, Tom Reed, Vivian Morse

Plot

An ominous mixtape blends never before seen snuff footage with nightmarish newscasts and disturbing home video to create a surreal, analog mashup of the forgotten 80s.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard