A police chase after a deranged ice cream truck has captivated the attention of Los Angeles. Dozens of fame-obsessed teens flock to the streets with their video cameras and camera phones, hell-bent on capturing the next viral video. But there is something far more sinister occurring in the streets of L.A. than a simple police chase. Those obsessed with capturing the violent and salacious footage soon discover that they are now the stars of the next viral video-one where they are facing their own horrifying deaths.
poor didn't finish it all
- V/H/S: Viral review by gazmb
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Just didn't get this film at all , seemed all messed about with and didn't seem to know what it was about. The acting was poor and the effects very cheaply done and unrealistic. Couldn't watch it all it was that bad.
I had such high hopes for the V/H/S franchise. It stumbled a bit with the first film, but found a firm footing with V/H/S 2. I dug the creative use of camera techniques and charms of the VHS format. It was an anthology series that gave a much needed boost to the tired genre of found-footage films. But V/H/S: Viral doesn’t seem to have faith in its own platform, shirking all its appeal and coherence in the name of appearing more relevant. It’s as if some young hot-shot producer came on to this series and planned to reimagine it from the ground up. VHS? Get with the times, grandpa. It’s all about internet streaming now and you have to get down with that if you want to appeal to a younger demographic.
The previous films featured bookend segments of a desolate house stocked with creepy VHS tapes that cause the viewers to breakout with insanity upon pushing play. It was simple and strange enough to provide a great setup for each piece. The third film does away with the house of recordings and goes for one of the most confusing methods of upgrading from tapes to streaming. Instead of quietly discovering each vignette, we are treated to a loud and manic adventure as a young man runs around screaming for his girlfriend in the crazy night streets. Cars run over pedestrians, Mexican gangs go bonkers with violence and everybody seems to be obsessed with capturing these events on their smart phones. There’s a message about social media in modern society somewhere in this mess, but it’s drowned out by all the madness of shaking cameras and random action.
The segments themselves have a similar dip in quality despite a talented roster of directors (Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Justin Benson, Aaron Scott Moorhead). “Dante the Great” is told in a mostly documentary format of a mad magician who comes into possession of a special cloak. Through the magic of ho-hum computer graphics, the cloak allows one to teleport themselves, reach for rabbits from other locations (yeah, he’s still using that old trick) and achieve all sorts of dark magic. He bestows some of his secret tricks on his female assistant, which essentially amounts to making the camera cut away and cut back to reveal something that wasn’t there before. But the cloak is hungry and requires human flesh to keep operating. Dante throws the dark batch of cloth on his unsuspecting victims which brings about a rather silly image of a woman being violently attacked by a blanket. The climactic fight is little more than an effects showcase of Dante tugging for control of the cloak with his apprentice, running up walls and launching fireballs. It feels the most out-of-place of all these shorts as if it belongs in a different movie.
“Parallel Monsters” offers up the most intriguing if not outlandish concept of the bunch. As a cross between The Twilight Zone and Tales From The Crypt, a basement inventor creates a portal into a parallel universe. Upon opening this entrance, he is greeted by an alternate universe version of himself that has just completed the same task. They ask questions about each other and laugh about how similar they are. They naturally swap lives to get a taste of what’s on the other side, but we already know something is going to be majorly off. It turns rather gruesome fairly quick and the grand twist isn’t revealed until he bursts out into the streets to witness the sinister formation to this society. It’s not a terrible entry with some decent effects including rather disgusting depictions of demonic genitals. But, just as with Nacho Vigalondo’s other horror efforts, it still feels held back.
“Bonestorm” is the most aimless of all the shorts. A group of skating teenagers venture into Mexico for some head-cam footage of their stunts, but end up attracting some creepy cult members. This short at least maintains the head-mounted camera concept, but that’s about all it has to offer. The entire piece features the teens running around a concrete area with waves of cult figures threatening their lives. The kids start shooting them with guns, whacking them with skateboards and beating them with their own swords. This feels less like a horror segment and more of a video game obsessed teenager’s wet dream. With the first person perspective of killing people who just won’t die, it seems like footage better suited for a video game than an anthology.
I desperately want this horror franchise to take off, but V/H/S: Viral takes a massive nosedive in its attempts to appear more modern and say something about our culture. What could’ve been something telling and horrifically satirical is lost to the muck of shaky cams and lackluster effects (the CGI car smashing into a cop just screams amateur). Why even bother to pursue this viral video angle when it offers much less to play with in comparison to the VHS format? It’s almost insulting the way the film tries to randomly insert “adjust tracking” screens and tape degradation as if to stay somewhat true to the previous movies. I’m hoping that another batch of directors can repair the damage done as it’d hate to see V/H/S fall in line with the mundane sleepwalkers of the found-footage genre. This series and its directors are far better than what is present in V/H/S: Viral. Please be kind and rewind this series back to its former glory.