VHS: VIRAL (October 24th)
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...
The other day I watched a film (Wolves at the Door) that had garnered a lot of animosity since its release. I’m a sucker for going against the grain so I thought I’d try another one that has, generally speaking, been written off as an abject failure.
As mentioned in previous posts I have always had a soft spot for found footage horror and quite liked VHS and VHS 2 - two anthology FF films that whilst a bit uneven, contained some effectively unsettling scenes and were starting to create their own mythology. So it saddens me to report that the third movie in the series VHS Viral, is in fact a big steaming pile of turd.
I would normally give a little summary as what the premise is and some idea as to the set up of the movie but it’s difficult when you aren’t actually sure what the hell was going on. I think that there were several individual stories involving different characters that played out - whilst they were all seemingly linked by a wraparound story. Although I’m still scratching my head as to how any of them link together apart from some nebulous demonic/satanic link. The segments were as follows: A magician uses a cursed cloak to further his career, a man travels through another dimension in his living room, some skateboarder kids fight weird zombie things in Mexico. The wraparound involves a young bloke chasing a stolen ice cream van around the city after someone (or something) abducts his girlfriend.
Tonally, all the segments are quite different but the one thing they all have in common is that they are all weird, none of them are scary and they’re all pointless. It’s never fun to disparage a film but I just don’t know what the intention was here. If it was to simultaneously bore and annoy you then it succeeded. The direction is sloppy (in all of them) and they don’t really offer anything beside the odd interesting visual or concept. The characters are all utterly forgettable - and as dull as dishwater too. Nacho Vilagondo’s segment (Parallel Monsters) was mildly interesting in places but the others were just incoherent and disinteresting. Ultimately it’s just quite hard to care or invest in what’s going on when you just don’t know what the story logic is. I get that it’s trying to do something different, I do. But different doesn’t always mean good. And in this instance it means ‘very bad’.
I could go on in a bit more detail but I won’t as it’s just not much fun slating something so I’ll end it here. I knew I should have paid heed to the critical consensus!