Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Review] V/H/S: Viral

The V/H/S anthology series has taken found footage horror to some intriguing levels. The first installment was a hit-and-miss outing that showed some potential. The second one polished things up with more developed stories and peaked at the well-crafted "Safe Haven" chapter, an awesomely creepy and chaotic long-short about a crew of documentarians that investigate a disturbing cult. Unfortunately, V/H/S: Viral is only about 1/3 successful, and as a whole it doesn't improve at all on the predecessors.

This time, the wrap-around story involves a police chase, and it's frankly annoying filler. The jerky, handheld camera and static proves to be getting old. "Dante the Great", the first main story, is about a magician that goes crazy with some witchcraft while making a deal with a malevolent spirit of some sort, and his magic becomes real. This probably sounds cooler than it actually is, as the chapter comes up lame on all parts. You figure it's more of a warm-up. Things get better, but not much.

Next up is "Parallel Monsters", a story about a guy who uses a futuristic machine to transport himself into an alternate dimension. It starts out like a rudimentary Twilight Zone episode, but quickly launches into some scuzzy devil-worshiping and monstrous sex antics. It's semi-amusing, but the payoff isn't that great, and it comes off as a lower-tier version of "Safe Haven".

"Bonestorm" is the final segment. It revolves around a group of skateboarders with helmet cams. It wastes some time stalling, but it definitely amounts to the best chapter when a group of skeleton-like Day of the Dead beings invade the skate park and things get very gruesome. The beings look genuinely scary, and the story is the most entertaining. If you happen to single one segment out, make it "Bonestorm".

V/H/S: Viral is largely a disappointment and it renders itself inessential. Also, I know it's different for everyone, but I came down with a major case of vertigo/dizziness/nausea after viewing this film--not because of the gore, but because of the damned shaky camerawork. I'm officially declaring death to the queasy cam, especially when the content isn't even worth the struggle.


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