Movie Review: “V/H/S:Viral”—Through the Eyes of Mediocrity

Written by Angela January 04, 2015

V/H/S: Viral

As we all know, one of the most groundbreaking technological advancements of the millenium has been the personal video camera. What was once a stupidly complex piece of technological bulk has been converted into an easy-to-operate lightweight household item, available in various shapes and sizes to suit the everyman’s inflated sense of self-worth. Since 2012, the “V/H/S” horror anthology series has ghoulishly explored the phenomenon that is our culture’s need to record ourselves and everything our eyeballs fall upon. This theme is predictably continued in the latest installment, “V/H/S:Viral,” a film where ridiculous storylines and D-grade acting ensue.

Following the formula of the first two films, “V/H/S: Viral” haphazardly strings together three short stories with a  framing device, all of which are presented in found-footage style. In the same spirit as “Creepshow,”  “Necronomicon,”and “Tales From the Crypt,” “V/H/S: Viral” intends to complete the “V/H/S” series’ mission to demarcate itself as the “hippest” cult horror anthology series a la mode. Its efforts to do so are a blundering swing and miss as it sets its sights on what it believes is the coolest, most “with-it” demographic possible: the uncultivated thirteen year old boy.

Sure, this is the group most likely to turn its pockets inside-out for the film’s video-on-demand release, but in turn “V/H/S: Viral” pays the price with piss-poor plot twists and generally intolerable execution. Although the first installment of “V/H/S” holds its own as an unprecedented success in experimental narrative, the sequel glaringly panders to a superficial audience while simultaneously alienating the good taste of everyone else.

“Haven’t you ever wanted to be part of something bigger than you?”

V/H/S: Viral

After tumbling through the film’s bumpy introduction, the first story unceremoniously enters and exits without leaving so much as a dent in the overall work. Entitled “Dante the Great,” it scraps together the tale of a loser named Dante who discovers a magical cape and becomes a nefarious illusionist. Word to the wise director Gregg Bishop: 2010’s “The Cape” only lasted three weeks for a reason. There is nothing heart-stopping about a super-powered piece of fabric.

“Parallel Monsters,” the second segment directed by Nacho Vigalondo, features a homemade portal to another dimension. The initial premise seems like a doorway to something better, but hand-puppet monster penises say otherwise. There are a few moments of slight tension in this short, but when GWAR’s rendition of “Sesame Street” makes its appearance, I recommend pausing to consider if there is anything better you could possibly be doing with your time

“We’re all sick.”

viral3

Should you decide to continue on with the film, you’ll find the next segment as technically impressive as it is terribly performed. “Bonestorm” (inspired by the game, I wonder?), directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead, propels the viewer straight into the middle of battle between the living and the dead on an unholy and stereotypical Mexican ritual ground. “Bonestorm” is the most entertaining part of “V/H/S: Viral,” but the mindlessly rude teenage hooligan main characters nearly sink the whole enterprise. They are just asking for the apocalypse in the first place, but hey, at least in the end the apocalypse wins.

“V/H/S:Viral” is the fizzling finale of a loud bang. The first “V/H/S” was an essential indie horror movie, but lightning doesn’t typically strike twice, let alone three times. The “V/H/S” sequels are little more than spastic slide-shows of special effects arranged to look authentic, but there’s no real thrill to be had from a blatant forgery that insists upon its own bullshit. Fans of the series might be charmed by penis monster puppets. The rest of you can skip this one.

OVERALL RATING: 3/10

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About Angela

Angela McInnes is an English major and up-and-coming horror film aficionado. To her, happiness is a bottle of rum and a creature-feature on a Saturday night.

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