V/H/S: Viral (2014)
November 21, 2014 5:50 AM - Subscribe

A wraparound story about a mysterious ice cream truck rampaging through Los Angeles ties together three found-footage horror shorts by various writers/directors.

This is the third movie in the V/H/S series of found-footage anthologies, following V/H/S and V/H/S/2.

The stories:

Vicious Circles (directed by Marcel Sarmiento): Local youths record the police's chase of an out-of-control ice cream truck with a sinister cargo.

Dante the Great (directed by Gregg Bishop): A stage magician uses a demonic cloak to perform real, and deadly, magic.

Parallel Monsters (directed by Nacho Vigalondo): A man opens a doorway to a world that seems to mirror our own, but he comes to find that are horrifying differences.

Bonestorm (directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead): Teens fall prey to devil worshippers while filming a skateboarding video in Tijuana.

A fifth film, Todd Lincoln's Gorgeous Vortex, was cut from the movie prior to the first festival screenings.

About the MeFi Horror Club.
posted by doctornecessiter (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't tend to gravitate toward found-footage horror in general, but the short form seems like the most ideal way to go with the format so I've been sure to give all of the V/H/S's a chance, and until now I've been teetering on the edge between really appreciating some scares and decent enough storytelling here and there, and being bummed out by frequent flashes of lameness. Any anthology is going to have ups and downs, I can't think of one that's front-to-back great (actually, maybe Creepshow), but this series is a real rollercoaster ride...Some highs (I personally like Safe Haven and 10/31/98 most from the previous movies), and some low lows...

To me, this one is mostly lows. Vicious Circles is an awful, confusing, murky mess which actually serves to falsely heighten the quality of all of the other stories just by popping up in between them. Bonestorm is irritating as hell...It's a few minutes of establishment of a couple of dickhead characters followed by ten minutes of GoPro footage of them bashing their skateboards into people's heads...Then a "shocker" ending ripped off from Safe Haven.

Dante the Great isn't terrible...You can follow the story and it's got a few clever little moments...But it's pretty much just a shorter, more violent and horrific version of Chronicle. I try so, so hard to disregard my instinct to shout "Stop filming! Run away!" and "Who edited this??" when watching these, and this one tries to help me out by being a mockumentary rather than the standard strictly found-footage film. But then there's a scene at the end where it seems to go totally third person, where no one appears to be filming but we're still watching a scene play out from an undisclosed point of view...I can't tell if they just got lazy, or if I missed something there.

Parallel Monsters is the clear highlight of this one, and may be my favorite of any of the V/H/S movies. Or, maybe it just seems great compared to everything around it here. It's got a great premise, and really builds its WTF-ness well -- though for some that WTF-ness may go a little too far...I could see it stopping short of being a monster movie and still being pretty great.

I'm morbidly curious about Gorgeous Vortex...I don't think anyone's come out and said why it was cut out of the final film. I can't believe it could be worse than some of the stuff they did include...But maybe...Stranger things have happened. I guess it's possible that they held it back simply to have one to include on a special edition for DVD? It could make for good promotion for goofs like me who are paying attention. (Personally I think I'll just wait for it to drop on YouTube.)
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:39 AM on November 21, 2014

Nice! I'll check this out ASAP. I'm a huge fan of Nacho Vigalondo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:40 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think Parallel Monsters could actually have been expanded into a pretty good feature if he'd wanted to. The high concept could potentially yield intelligent mind-bender situations similar to those of Timecrimes.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2014

Have you ever watched any of the short films he has on YouTube? Some of them are freaking fantastic.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:06 AM on November 21, 2014

No I haven't! The only other thing of his that I was aware of is the new one with Sasha Grey and Frodo. I'll have to seek out his YouTube films, I'm impressed with his stuff I've seen so far.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:13 AM on November 21, 2014

Three of my favorites (all in Spanish, subtitled):

-7:35 in the Morning
-Code 7
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:20 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just cant get into this. To channel my inner Roth, found footage films frigging fail. Since we are going biweekly I have time and might give it another try, but these days I am feeling like life is too short to spend time doing things I dont want to do.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:53 AM on November 23, 2014

At least hang in for the Nacho Vigalondo segment. It's terrific. I'll find more time to expand on that later, but maaaaan, he continues to be my favorite unheralded genre director.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:10 AM on November 23, 2014

Right after writing that last comment I sat down and watched it, actually. The first ten minutes or so with all the staticand whatnot really annoyed me, but that actually went away when the real clips started so I could tolerate the rest of it.

Basically I agree with what you guys said. The skateboarding one was terrible and I wish I had that 20 minutes of my life back. The magician one was ok, but there was no tension. Aside from a couple deliberately gruesome scenes, it could have just as easily been classified a fantasy short.

The meat puppet one, though, was worth the price of admission. At first I was appalled by the creepy people from the other dimension but after some introspection I decided that they were victims just as much as the "regular" humans were. I mean they acted in ways consistent with the mores of their universe yet were punished for it. I think that makes the real horror the fact that we so easily judge others without thinking of where they are coming from. I just wish that the giant dongs looked slightly less like hand puppets.

Oh, and it is 2014 now, who even has access to vhs anymore? I realize it is the name of the film series, but come on.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:51 PM on November 23, 2014

Yeah, aside from Parallel Monsters this was by far the worst of the series so far. The frame story was alternately incompetent and incoherent, the skate video had a few promising moments but then turned into what looked like a bad Tony Hawk mod or something, and the magician one was, just, well, magicians don't really terrify me. (The one shot with the rabbit was pretty cool though.) Plus a whole bushel of racist stereotypes about Latinos in that one bit in the frame story!

Parallel Monsters was really pretty good, though. I really liked the airships with inverted crosses on them.
posted by whir at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2014

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