In a word, preachy.
V/H/S Viral, the third (and likely final) installment in the V/H/S series consists of three shorts and one wraparound story. While its parts are enjoyable, the grand sum that is V/H/S: Viral is severely lacking, and while its easy to see what they were aiming for, they flew a bit too close to the sun and pulled a serious Icarus, burning up before reaching their final destination.
Much like the first two, V/H/S: Viral follows one core story, with several (in this case 3) shorts thrown in the middle. In the first movie, this wraparound story was exceedingly simple: some punk kids tasked with retrieving a tape find lots of other tapes…and we get to watch them with them. In this, the third iteration, its a bit more complicated.
We open following a man obsessed with achieving virality on the web, who as a result films everything, including his girlfriend. This obsession leads him to ignore his lady, who is then promptly kidnapped by an ice cream truck on a police chase. I guess. Kind of hard to tell. Also apparently people who attempt to film said Ice Cream truck fall victim to some sort of virus (HINT HINT WINK WINK).
Unlike the previous two films, there’s no transition to the short films, no vehicle of ‘finding a VHS tape’ as was used in the first two, which is a bit odd and quite jarring. The segments are:
Dante The Great – A huge departure from the first two movies, this one isn’t even ‘found footage’, but rather done in the style of a documentary, covering the rise and fall of a magician, and his cape. Easily my favorite of the three, with wonderful acting and a fun story.
Parallel Monsters – A scientist discovers a way into a parallel universe, and what starts as a quick traipse into another Earth ends pretty spectacularly. Fun segment with a VERY unique premise.
Bonestorm – This segment channels the spirit of the first two movies, and is comprised of go pro footage from some skaters who head down to Mexico and end up in the middle of an ancient ritual. Lots of action, no real conclusion.
*shudders* yes. Unfortunately.
Some impressive effects, but honestly not as much gore as the first two. Still obviously not family friendly.
Outside of the wraparound ‘story’ the performances in all the segments are quite sound, with Dante the Great’s principal actors completely stealing the show
I’d like to explain myself. When I said earlier that V/H/S Viral was, in a nutshell, preachy, I was referring to the wraparound story, the binding plot that contains the other shorts. There is a message here about our current culture’s obsession with virality and internet fame that is pretty darn blunt. Like, hammer to the temple blunt..
Whether it be the onlookers contracting a ‘VIRUS’ when attempting to film, or the ‘twist’ ending out in the LA river, its clear those involved in making this film wanted to turn a heavy handed lens back on ourselves, and make us re-evaluate our priorities and the impact of our internet obsessed actions.
And while I get it, screw off.
Seriously – what made V/H/S so FUN was that there really wasn’t a story – more of a container. Just a vehicle to connect some badass and jacked up stories. In the process of trying so hard, V/H/S Viral instead comes across as lofty, and its just not necessary.
TL;DR 5/10 – watch it for the segments, and ignore the preachy wraparound