Monday, March 23, 2015

Film Review: V/H/S: Viral (2014)

V/H/S: Viral (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...worst of all, this "horror" film is lacking horror!"

An ice cream truck is the center of a police chase. When the ice cream truck miraculously abducts his girlfriend, Kevin chases the truck around town, along with others looking to capture viral videos...

V/H/S: Viral is a horror anthology. The frame story is titled "Vicious Circles," and it follows the ice cream truck. "Dante the Great" follows a magician named Dante, who acquires inexplicable magic powers from a mysterious cloak, and his assistant. "Parallel Monsters" follows Alfonso, who creates an inter-dimensional portal that allows him to interact with a parallel version of himself. Finally, "Bonestorm" follows a group of douchebags skaters as they head to Tijuana to finish their skate video; they are subsequently attacked by a mysterious cult. Unfortunately, the film's ending is as disappointing as the rest of the film.

V/H/S: Viral is an interesting but severely flawed film. I liked the creativity in the stories. I applaud the filmmakers for making found-footage movies that aren't about ghosts or possession. That's about as far as my praise goes. The main problem with V/H/S: Viral is its lack of horror. You have magicians shooting fireballs, demonic reproductive organs, and deadly cultists, but little horror. The stories themselves don't even feel like horror, they're more like action-SciFi-thriller hybrids. There's nothing in this film that makes you anxious or shiver -- no suspense, no true-to-life horrors, no gore, and only a few jump-scares. Okay, I'm lying about the gore, but for good reason -- it's ridiculous. Instead of practical effects, V/H/S: Viral opts for comical computer effects, it was hard not to laugh. Also, the Viral aspect of the film completely misses, which causes this anthology to feel disjointed.

The acting doesn't help, either. Okay, there are a few decent performances, but most of the acting is mediocre. The camerawork is sloppier than usual, it can be nauseating and even distracting. This is a found-footage anthology, but some of the films fail to realize that; Dante the Great, for example, cycles between interrogation, found-footage, and documentary for some odd reason. As previously stated, gorehounds will be sorely disappointed by the computer effects. This film has several directors and writers, some who have been fantastic in the past. This time around, the writing and direction feels sloppy, rushed, and dull. It seems most of this crew has forgotten how to make effective horror movies. I give Nacho Vigalondo props for his mind-bending plot, but it wasn't scary; anywhere else but here, it would've been decent.

Overall, V/H/S: Viral is a mediocre horror anthology. I'm a big fan of V/H/S and V/H/S/2, so I'm very disappointed with this installment. The writing, direction, acting, and production values are mediocre; worst of all, this "horror" film is lacking horror! It almost feels like a film produced by The Asylum, like if they rushed out to piggyback on the independent success of the V/H/S series. You'd be shocked to know: I think I've seen The Asylum produce better films than this. As a fan of horror anthologies and the series, I can't recommend anything more than a stream.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some nudity.

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