And so we come to the second of this year’s Shocktober fare, the third film in the V/H/S franchise: V/H/S Viral. Craig and I were both looking forward to this third instalment, having enjoyed most of what the first 2 films had to offer. Take a look back at our reviews if you have time.
However, to say we were disappointed with this film is an understatement. In the previous 2 films the linking stories were intriguing, scary, interesting and/or shocking. Here it’s just meh. The individual stories themselves are based on some good ideas all let down by bad execution and/or acting. I’ll go through each segment individually later, so you can avoid spoilers, but to be honest with you I can’t see many people enjoying this ragtag effort. If this is the last V/H/S film, it’s a sad finale for what was shaping up to be a decent franchise.
SPOILER ALERT!! ONLY CONTINUE READING IF YOU WANT A NEAR COMPLETE SYNOPSIS OF THIS FILM!
The over-arching story involves a fame-obsessed young man chasing and filming an ice cream van being driven round LA, which is killing people and is being chased by the police and other people filming the “action” on their phones and Go-Pro cameras. Sounds exciting, right? WRONG! Apart from one cringe-worthy moment and a climax that starts off suspenseful and then falls flat this is dull, dull, dull. The whole idea of this segment going viral and starting a wave of weird horror stuff would have been a great jumping off point at the start of the film, but not a great ending.
The first story concerns a fairly useless magician who finds a magician’s cape that turns out to be possessed by a demon. The cape lets him do real magic, not just illusions, but the cape must be fed and so some of the magician’s assistants start to go “missing”. An interesting idea backed up by some very good special effects, clever editing and let down by some terrible acting, except for the magician’s final and surviving assistant, and a fairly humdrum ending. Magician with demon-possessed cape versus SWAT team followed by the assistant is probably the highlight of this whole film.
The second story, with dialogue in Spanish and English subtitles, is about an amateur scientist who invents a doorway into a parallel universe. It being a parallel universe, his otherworld double has done exactly the same and after a brief conversation they agree to cross over into the other’s world for 15 minutes to take a look around. Soon it appears that the parallel universe is somewhere that blood sacrifice/rituals are commonplace and this injects some suspense when we cut back to our world and see scientist 2 creeping into scientist 1’s bedroom to watch scientist’s 1’s wife asleep. Back in the parallel world, scientist 1 is asked by scientist 2’s wife to join her and 2 young men wearing nothing but boxer shorts to join them, presumably in some kind of demon-worshipping ritual. Things start to unravel until it is revealed that the inhabitants of the parallel universe have demon-like genitalia, an unnecessary addition that spoils what was shaping up to be a truly unsettling story. A missed opportunity which could have dragged this film out of the depths and into, at least, mediocrity.
Lastly, we have the segment entitled Bonestorm, but which should have been called Skateboarding Stoners vs. Tijuana Zombies. Again a fairly interesting and unusual idea, let down by bad acting and an action sequence that goes on for far too long. For the synopsis to this segment just re-read my made up title and add a scamming filmmaker to explain the found footage. Another wasted opportunity in a film full of them. A film only included here as part of Shocktober and NOT a film that’s so bad it’s good, just a bad film.