Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Rated R for disturbing strong violence and gore, sexual content, language and some drug use
The third installment in this fairly admired cult series, is not only the worst in the series, but maybe the worst film I’ve been subjected to in a year that has already seen two Adam Sandler and three Kevin Hart movies.
First off, if you don’t know how these films are constructed, parts one and two use a framing device where characters (all amidst their own scary situations) watch found V/H/S tapes, which depict 3 found-footage, low budget horror short films (all from different directors). In “V/H/S: Viral” the three shorts are held together (like glue) by the story of a guy trying to film a supposed car chase, which becomes (from what I can decipher) a stupid commentary on the lack of coherent content in videos uploaded by teenagers that go viral, in this day and age. But wait, that doesn’t sound like a plot which would contain a segment where someone watches V/H/S tapes. Well, that’s because it doesn’t. Here’s my point: Would it be a valid criticism to say that in a movie called “V/H/S: Viral”, the fact that it contains not one actual V/H/S tape throughout its 82 minute runtime, was a drastic misstep? I believe so.
But (you ask yourself) even though the glue of the film was lacking, maybe the short films throughout were its saving grace? Uhhh, NOPE!
With low budget film techniques and visuals ranging from passable to downright hokey, there is absolutely no reason to watch this film; or read the rest of this review. But I guess, if you have nothing better to do, you can read on and find out more about the individual shorts “Viral” has to offer.
The first short, “Dante the Great”, directed by Gregg Bishop, is about a lame magician, who finds a magical cloak and becomes a big star. But just like Audrey 2 in “Little Shop of Horrors”, this cloak apparently needs to be fed. Verdict: Good premise, but poor visuals, with a story that goes nowhere.
The second short, “Parallel Monsters”, directed by Nacho Vigalondo, sees my favorite premise, where a man creates a door to an alternate universe, only to have a conversation with his alternate self. During this conversation, they both agree to switch places for 15 minutes. Verdict: This short really had me leaning forward in my seat, until it suddenly took a sophomoric turn, choosing to focus on alien genitalia. The visuals in this short were also the worst of the three, as the genitalia in question were obviously hand puppets (puppetry of the penis?).
The third one, “Bonestorm”, directed by…oh, who cares; it’s probably better that I don’t divulge this directors name, since his short is by far the worst of the three. This GoPro driven story sees a handful of obnoxious punk skater-boys, who are teenagers and have guns for some reason. They decide to go to Tijuana after hearing about an “awesome skate spot”. Problem is, this location happens to be the home of some of the strongest, yet weakest Mexican Satan worshipers ever put to film. From there, we see things get shot and hit with skateboards for way too long.
The biggest issue I had with these shorts was that not for one moment was I scared. And this was clearly advertized as a HORROR MOVIE. iTunes, can I have my money back?
Final Thought: Even though I wasn’t a vehement apologist of the last two films of the series, like other critics I know, the premises (for the most part) made sense. Yes, none of the actual videos have any sort of connection, but they never have. What I am talking about is the framing device used here, which in the past had only been used to facilitate the showing of the main attraction (the shorts). In “V/H/S: Viral” the framing device makes absolutely no sense, with an ending that is so incoherent, that when the main female lead proceeds to continuously bang her head against a wall during the final minutes, I wanted to join her in this action, if only to avoid watching any more of this movie.
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