November 14, 2014 V/H/S Viral (Movie Review)
V/H/S Viral is an anthology Horror film brought to movie watchers by Magnet Releasing, Bloody Disgusting, and The Collective. The Brad Miska created series is supposedly concluding with this third offering released on Video on Demand October 23rd, with limited theatrical run on November 21st. Two-thousand and twelve’s V/H/S had five segments with 2013’s V/H/S 2 having four, and this newest installment with only three. All having a wraparound story that cuts in and out between segments, each film has little to do with each other nor do the segments, so watching them in order is not required. Like the previous installments, each segment of V/H/S Viral features a different director with their own script.
V/H/S Viral opens with the wraparound story called “Vicious Circles” written/directed by Marcel Sarmiento (Dead Girl 2008), along with T.J. Cimfel (No Tell Motel 2012), and David White. Starring Emilia Zoryan and Patrick Lawrie, the story starts with a nice romantic opening of a boyfriend and his girlfriend out on a bridge talking about building new memories together to remember forever while he films her. Quickly the audience then sees that there are some problems in his home which are never addressed. The boyfriend wants to become famous with a viral video and sees his opportunity to achieve this by going outside to film a car chase that they have been following on TV. About to pass right by their house, his girlfriend tells him to not go, but he does not listen. He runs outside right as the Ice cream truck on the run passes by. His girlfriend then receives a message on her phone that puts her in a trance and makes her walk into the street. She is then scooped up by the truck and the boyfriend goes off in pursuit.
The wraparound story is the least interesting part of the film and the viewer finds themselves disappointed every time it returns to that story which tries to tie all three films together, but fails to do so. The story does not answers questions about what is going on with all these VHS tapes and if there are any connections. Certainly a low point of the film, the segments are all good enough to keep the audience’s attention.
The first segment in V/H/S Viral is called “Dante the Great” which is written/directed by Gregg Bishop (Dance of the Dead 2008) and stars Justin Welborn (The Final Destination 2009) as well as Emmy Argo. Dante (Welborn) is a failing magician who comes across a magical cape that was once own by Harry Houdini. The cape makes him able to perform impossible acts which launches him into becoming the biggest magician in the world. No one can figure out his illusions and this draws much media attention. A girl (Argo) comes to audition to be his assistant but really wants to be a magician herself. She thinks she can learn his tricks and take them for herself, but once seen, she can not figure them out either. Things go south when she finds a hidden compartment with videos of murders committed by Dante and when the police call her in for questioning all hell breaks loose. There is a lot of things going on in this first segment that are fun and fresh feeling. The only real downfall this segment has is that it goes a little far at times, moments seem too hokey, and it takes the viewer out of it. Welborn is solid as Dante and sells the role well. In the end it wraps itself up nicely if one can look past some of the more over the top scenes.
The second segment is called “Parallel Monsters” which is written/directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes 2008). Parallel Monsters starts with a man who is working on what looks to be a science experiment. The structure looks like a doorway and when he finally turns it on it opens up a parallel universe where he meets himself. They both think that everything is exactly the same on the other side. They decide they have to know if this is true so they plan to meet back at the portal in fifteen minutes so they can go investigate what is on the other side of both their opposing worlds. Although, all is not the same on either side and for one of them this is to be a trip he will live to regret. This segment is first and foremost original, much like all three segments in this film. This segment is also completely bizarre and has a lot of puzzling moments where the viewer is not sure what they are watching. The best way to describe this segment is just plain weird, but it has enough mystery to keep you intrigued all the way till the last moment.
The third and final segment in this film is called “Bonestorm” which is directed by 2012’s Resolution team, Aaron Moorehead, and co-directed and written by Justin Benson. “Bonestorm” is about a few young skaters that want to make a skate video and use it to try to go pro. The kid they hire to film them skate tells them that they should go down to Tijuana cause he knows of some canals that they can go skate for some great footage, to which they agree and go to. When they get to the canal and start skating they find in the middle of their new personal skateland a huge drawing that looks like some kind of Pagan sign used in rituals. They end up bleeding on the sign accidentally after skating right on top of it. This brings forth an army of demons with skull faces and now the skaters must defend themselves at all costs. This segment challenges to be the fan-favorite and most well-received one in V/H/S Viral. The other two segments and the wraparound take themselves a little too serious at times and this one reminds the audiences why they watch these films in the first place, to have fun. There is a lot of good kills and one can tell that the people making this had a blast doing so.
Overall V/H/S Viral has solid segments and its only real low point is the wraparound that really goes nowhere. It is probably the worst of the three films but that is not a bad thing, because this is a very fun series that fans can only hope continues past this “final” entry. Fans of the first two films should agree V/H/S Viral stacks up against them very well. If this is the last film in the series then it was a fitting end and it leaves a good taste in the mouth of those that followed the franchise over the years. It is the most daring of the three films, making it the most respectable and should be appreciated by filmmakers who like to see films push the envelope. CrypticRock gives V/H/S Viral 4 out of 5 stars.