Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: V/H/S VIRAL

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

After loving the first V/H/S and liking V/H/S 2 very much, I found this third installment mediocre overall.  With two great segments (Dante the Great and Parallel Monsters), one tiresome chapter about skateboarding teens (Bonestorm) and a terrible, non-sensical wrap around, V/H/S Viral isn’t a total waste of time.  However,  it is an anthology that will require assistance from a remote control.  With the anthology series heading into more modern territory, the series needs to drop the V/H/S moniker should they decide to continue with more installments.

This latest installment of the series begins when a romantic evening at home turns into nightmare as a high speed police chase captures the attention of  hordes people intent on capturing the footage for viral videos.  This leads to the first chapter Dante the Great which is a fun and exciting tale about a magician who channels dark powers to become the world’s most famous illusionist. Directed by Gregg Bishop, this installment is my favorite of the anthology.  Next, Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes) explores polar opposite, parallel universes in his fascinating, and ultimately disturbing segment.  The last chapter is the mostly, GoPro captured Bonestorm.  This segment by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead has its fun moments, but grows tiresome because of its repetitive kills and its annoying characters.

The wrap-around story has a valid message, but plays out rather messily.  The public’s obsession with viral video is a relevant subject, but writer/director Marcel Sarmiento goes a bit over-the-top with the action and ties viral video with the VHS format in an incomprehensible manner.  I do recommend this latest V/H/S anthology for fans of the series, but want these fans to be prepared for some disappointment.



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