“V/H/S: Viral” is jarring and tedious to watch

Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

“V/H/S: Viral” is a found-footage horror anthology directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Aaron Scott Moorhead and Justin Benson. It is the third installment of the V/H/S saga created by Brad Miska, owner of the popular horror film news site Bloody Disgusting. The film seems to be the runt of the three films. It presents fun and unique ideas but in comparison to its predecessors in the saga, it is subpar.

The film consists of three segments and an overall wraparound story. Sarmiento’s segment “Vicious Circles” follows a police chase of a deranged ice cream truck that causes chaos in the streets and is the overarching story of the film. Bishop’s “Dante the Great” tells the story of an illusionist who finds a mysterious cape with great powers and dangerous consequences. Vigalondo’s “Parallel Monsters” follows an inventor who creates a door to a parallel world. And Benson and Moorhead’s “Bonestorm” is about a group of skateboarders who become targets of a Mexican death cult ritual.

The key to enjoying this film is accepting it for what it is. “V/H/S: Viral” is not the greatest horror movie ever made, nor does it plan to be. The film tries to have fun with its content rather than scare the audience. Only in this movie can a person get a story about a parallel universe that has demons with carnivorous genitalia, or a group of skateboarders who go on a rampage and massacre an entire satanic cult in self-defense while using a sewer bed as a halfpipe. These concepts aren’t scary in the slightest, but they are action-packed and somewhat comedic. The film isn’t afraid to experiment, even if it means embarrassing itself. Viewers will find themselves intrigued by just how weird things can get. But that’s if they don’t shut the movie off after the first 30 minutes.

Fans of the saga will be disappointed at how constrained the story is by its budget. In previous films, the segments would have taken the audience across the world in vast scenes like an Indonesian cult, or a slumber party in a cabin in the woods. But this film seems smaller rather than the “bigger and better” feeling touted in the trailer. Locations seem to be confined to the Los Angeles area and the most adventurous the film gets with its setting is a sewer. The film is a litany of crappy CGI. Everything from the blood to actual people aren’t safe from being replaced by some crappy digital stock footage.

The film’s lack of a coherent story also makes it jarring and tedious to watch. The film as a whole has no plot. Instead, it is a series of segments that are just plastered throughout the movie. The viewer jumps from watching several teens chasing an ice cream truck to a guy massacring his family at a barbecue. And it’s all cemented in by horrible transitioning so it’s impossible to tell whether or not these stories are connected. The film is all over the place and it’s best to just not try and make sense of it.

“V/H/S: Viral” is a fun movie, not a good one. Its incoherence and lackluster variety is only saved by willingness to go over the top and take a chance because it has nothing to lose.

Rating: 2 stars

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