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VHS: Viral (Movie Review)

VHS: Viral (Movie Review)
11.21.2014by: Eric Walkuski
4 10

WATCH V/H/S: VIRAL HERE!

PLOT: The third entry in the found footage anthology franchise, which kicks off when an intense police chase has strange effects on the bystanders who record it.

REVIEW: One day, they'll make a V/H/S movie I like. I want to like them, I do: I'm a huge fan of horror anthologies, and this franchise boasts some of the best names working in the genre today - almost all of whom have done good work elsewhere. But for whatever reason, the appeal of the V/H/S movies eludes me. There have been flashes of greatness, sure - Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto's "Safe Haven" remains the undisputed champ - but by and large I have found them to be raucous, uninvolving affairs, significantly lacking in frights or suspense.

V/H/S: VIRAL continues the disappointing trend by being the least satisfying entry of the bunch. There isn't one entirely compelling segment to be found, although thankfully at least two of the four have inspired moments. It's easier to just go through them individually, so here goes. (Note: In case you didn't know, Todd Lincoln's segment has been dropped from the final product; no word on why.)

"Vicious Circles" - directed by Marcel Sarmiento - is the wraparound story, involving a frantic police pursuit of an ice cream truck by police and the various city residents who get swept up in the chase. Quite quickly it appears something else is going on here, however: whoever gets caught up in the tawdry spectacle becomes hypnotized by a strange video they receive on their smart phones. The "protagonist" is a man whose girlfriend is seemingly kidnapped by the ice cream truck, which might be at the center of this deadly signal. Sarmiento's segment is hectic and unfocused; the story, such as it is, never gels and the finale leaves us on an abstract, frustrating note. The characters we encounter aren't interesting in the least - which is a problem for the V/H/S movies on the whole - and we never get to the bottom of what's going on. 2/10

Dante the Great - directed by Gregg Bishop - is the most visually stimulating of the bunch, and probably the best overall. A loner (Justin Welborn) finds a magical cape that enables him to become the world's greatest illusionist. But the cape demands human sacrifices in return. The finale of this one is rather inspired, as Dante battles his assistant - and a SWAT team - for dominance over the cape; Bishop cleverly delivers a handful of nifty slight-of-hand effects, where the cape is used to make objects and people disappear and reappear during a knockdown battle. Not especially enthralling as a story, but thanks to Bishop's invigorating directing, "Dante the Great" is a fun morsel. 7/10.

"Parallel Monsters" - directed by Nacho Vigalondo - is the most disappointing, if only because it starts off so well. A scientist creates a portal to a parallel universe and meets his other self. At face value, the two men are exactly the same, and, sharing each other's glee, they decide to briefly explore the other man's world. Both soon find out things are not quite as similar as they seem, as one parallel world's population contains disgusting abnormalities. Vigalondo nails the opening minutes of this short, and the possibilities are limitless in terms of where he could go with it. Where he does end up going with it, however, is weird but unfulfilling. Grotesque creatures are fun and all, but is that all that could have been done here? It's sadly a waste of a very cool premise. (Unrelated thought: this would make a fun exercise, have a few different directors use the central idea of "Parallel Monsters" as a jumping off point to tell their own twisted parallel universe stories.) 4/10.

"Bonestorm" - by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead - really falls flat. A quartet of obnoxious teens travel to Tijuana in order to film a skateboarding video. Unfortunately, they pick a sacred site to play in, and soon incur the wrath of ghouls, skeletons, spirits and human sacrificers. The first half of "Bonestorm" is just spending time with these dreadful characters, the second half involves their systematic destruction of their supernatural foes. Their exploits seemingly go on forever, and the entire segment ultimately resembles a silly video game more than anything else. 2/10.

The final score is hopefully an accurate average; I'm bad at math so I may not have calculated it right, but this is how I leave it. You get the idea, though. The V/H/S movies are not my cup of tea.

Extra Tidbit: V/H/S: VIRAL is currently on VOD and hits theaters on November 21st.

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10:19AM on 11/21/2014

Just bad...

If anything I think your score deserves to be lower. This one was just bad. I truly enjoyed the first two VHS movies so this was a pretty big let down. A poor attempt for everyone involved.
If anything I think your score deserves to be lower. This one was just bad. I truly enjoyed the first two VHS movies so this was a pretty big let down. A poor attempt for everyone involved.
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8:53AM on 11/10/2014

VHS 3

A few good ideas destroyed. The last footage with those skatboard teens was pure crap Z grade movie making!
A few good ideas destroyed. The last footage with those skatboard teens was pure crap Z grade movie making!
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+0
7:02PM on 11/09/2014
the first one was ok the second one had a couple good things but cant recommend it to anyone to watch an im afraid to even give this one a try by all the shitty reviews its getting
the first one was ok the second one had a couple good things but cant recommend it to anyone to watch an im afraid to even give this one a try by all the shitty reviews its getting
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4:20PM on 11/08/2014
I also hated this movie, but no way would I say Dante the Great was best entry. Parallel Monsters was the only decent thing about this movie, despite a weak pay off. Dante wasn't even found footage and was about as scary as an episode of Goosebumps.
I also hated this movie, but no way would I say Dante the Great was best entry. Parallel Monsters was the only decent thing about this movie, despite a weak pay off. Dante wasn't even found footage and was about as scary as an episode of Goosebumps.
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5:26PM on 11/07/2014

Agreed - total garbage.

I absolutely 100% agree with this review. And this is coming from someone who liked the first film and LOVED the second. Viral was just an incoherent mess through and through, Dante the Great being the one exception. Man, this movie was just a HUGE disappointment all the way around.
I absolutely 100% agree with this review. And this is coming from someone who liked the first film and LOVED the second. Viral was just an incoherent mess through and through, Dante the Great being the one exception. Man, this movie was just a HUGE disappointment all the way around.
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2:59PM on 11/07/2014
You didn't enjoy the first two? Ok not surprised you didn't like this one, more surprised they got you to review it then. At least you mentioned that going into the review. I'm still looking forward to this since I found the former ones fun.
You didn't enjoy the first two? Ok not surprised you didn't like this one, more surprised they got you to review it then. At least you mentioned that going into the review. I'm still looking forward to this since I found the former ones fun.
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12:30PM on 11/07/2014

well....

I guess Haters are gonna hate, and Anus are gonna Taint
I guess Haters are gonna hate, and Anus are gonna Taint
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1:53PM on 11/07/2014
Or maybe he just didn't like the movie all that much and has a different opinion of it than you... hmmm...
Or maybe he just didn't like the movie all that much and has a different opinion of it than you... hmmm...
11:07AM on 11/07/2014

Just for info...

The average score would be 3.75/10
The average score would be 3.75/10
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