31 Days of Horror: Film #6 V/H/S: Viral
V/H/S is a horror anthology series with disturbing short films shot in a found footage style, with themes that include the supernatural, alien abduction, murderers, and zombies. I found the first V/H/S legitimately frightening. Not every short worked but the ones that did are disturbing, scary, and inventive. V/H/S/2 is a weaker compilation but it does feature Safe Haven, the best short of the entire series. Safe Haven -- which is directed by The Raid's Gareth Evans -- is located somewhere in the middle of V/H/S/2, I think, and is reason enough to watch the anthology.
V/H/S: Viral is the third entry in the series, and judging by audience and critic reactions, it might be the last.
This movie is complete shit.
I’m going to give you a rundown of the film’s shorts. The first and arguably the best is called Dante the Great, which details the story of a magician who rises to fame after discovering an evil cloak that allows him to perform real magic. There are some cool ideas and neat visuals in this short but the execution is lacking. One can’t help but think it might’ve really made an impact as a feature film with more accomplished actors. It could’ve been a darker, more violent Now You See Me.
Next we have Parallel Monsters, about a scientist who opens a door to a parallel universe and meets his other self. Everything seems normal until they decide to switch universes for 15 minutes, then things get weird. Parallel Monsters is silly and it doesn’t seem to realize it. Of all the stories, I thought this one had some potential because it’s done by writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, who made the excellent Spanish sci-fi thriller Timecrimes. But nope.
Bonestorm is about some skaters who go to Mexico and accidentally awaken a group of demons. The execution reminds one of a first-person-shooter videogame as the kids must fight off the monstrous entities. I found it repetitive and uninteresting. It might’ve actually been a scary short had they made the decision to shoot at night instead of in bright sunshine. It’s also lacking a satisfying ending.
Vicious Circles is a short that continues throughout V/H/S: Viral, coming to an end after the other shorts are finished. The story is about an evil ice cream truck driving around LA, broadcasting a signal that causes people to go insane. I like the unexplained nature of the concept but it ends up being a fairly forgettable horror tale.
V/H/S: Viral is short on scares and smarts. There’s some interesting ideas here and there but it never comes together right. The film is currently available to stream on Netflix in the US. Only watch it if you’re a big fan of the first two films.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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