V/H/S: Viral (2014)

DVD Cover (Magnet Releasing)
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Overall Rating 42%
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Ranked #3,312
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Connections: V/H/S

V/H/S: VIRAL's segments include the story of a deranged illusionist who obtains a magical object of great power, a homemade machine that opens a door to a parallel world, teenage skaters that unwillingly become targets of a Mexican death cult ritual, and a sinister, shadowy organization that is tracking a serial killer. The segments are tied together by the story of a group of fame-obsessed teens following a violent car chase in LA that unwittingly become stars of the next internet sensation. --TMDb
Review by Chad
Added: October 19, 2016
I was a big fan of the previous movies in the V/H/S series, regardless of the mixed reviews that they may have received from the horror community. A lot of people don't like the found footage angle that these movies use, and that's their choice. I personally enjoy it, and I liked the storylines that those movies used, so both films were winners in my household. So, it should come as little surprise that I was pretty excited for the third one, and although it took me a while to get around to it, I finally got the chance to pop it in tonight. Unfortunately, I felt a little let down when all was said and done.

There are three or four stories to be found here along with a wraparound story, and... wait, "three or four"? Well, you see, certain DVD releases had a fourth segment entitled "Gorgeous Vortex", but the copy that I got from Netflix did not include that segment. Maybe your copy has it, maybe it doesn't - it all depends on which version you got and which country you call home. So, since I didn't see that segment, I'm going to ignore it in this review and not include it in the final rating in any way, good or bad. I will say that it's silly to yank a chunk of the film out like that, but maybe that lack of understanding is why I'm just a reviewer and not a distributor.

Vicious Circles
directed by Marcel Sarmiento
We begin with the obligatory wraparound sequence, and this one centers around an ice cream truck that is barreling through the city while being chased by numerous cops. Brings back memories of the OJ Simpson news coverage, if you're old enough to remember that. Anyway, this prompts Kev (Patrick Lawrie) to grab his camera so that he can capture some footage of the chase and throw it on YouTube and see it go viral, along with getting some of that sweet advertising money. Unfortunately for him, his girlfriend Iris (Emilia Ares Zoryan) somehow winds up in the back of this truck, and he must now chase it down if he wants to rescue her. Oh, and along the way, weird shit happens thanks to something coming from inside this truck, which leads us to our three main stories.

Honestly, I couldn't really get into this one all that much. I mean, sure, it serves its purpose and it gets us from one story to the next, but as a whole, it just didn't do much for me. It's average enough at best and it has a couple of interesting scenes, but it's nothing memorable. I will say that there's a couple of good gore sequences and there were also some humorous moments in it that aided my enjoyment; for example, look no further than the Mexican party with the dog getting stabbed in the head with a fork. Alright, so I guess you had to see it to get the humor, but trust me when I say that it's definitely more black humor than animal cruelty. Still, it's nothing to write home about. 4/10.

Dante the Great
directed by Gregg Bishop
Dante (Justin Welborn) is a trailer park magician who isn't very good at what he does, until one day, he discovers a cursed cape that allows him to perform real magic. He can now alter reality, warp himself or other objects from one spot to another, and even send people halfway across the country. Naturally, he takes his show on the road and makes a killing with insanely high ticket prices, but he discovers that his new-found abilities come at a price: namely, the cape demands to be "fed" in ways that I'm pretty sure you can guess. Hey, attractive assistant girls come and go, right? The latest assistant, Scarlett (Emmy Argo), discovers what is going on and is bound and determined to not wind up as the next sacrifice.

While I will readily admit that this one was a little cheesy, I will also say that I really enjoyed it. Sure, it's silly, but I'll be damned if that idea isn't somewhat original and I'll be double damned if they didn't make it entertaining. A lot of the classic magic tricks are included here, but with new spins on them: there's the old rabbit in the hat trick, the bed of nails, the disappearing showgirls, and so on and so forth, but they're all done in new ways with "real" magic. Seeing how these tricks are updated by an insane magician is half the fun, but wait until you see the grand finale. That's worth the price of admission alone, and this story was the highlight of the running time. 8/10.

Parallel Monsters
directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Alfonso (Gustavo Salmerón) is a scientist who has finally perfected his greatest invention: a portal to an alternate universe. On the other side of that portal is what appears to be an exact replica of his house, and wouldn't you know it: there's also another Alfonso on the other end who seems to be an exact clone of himself. The two like-minded men decide that it would be interesting to spend fifteen minutes in each other's universe, and that's when the "main" Alfonso discovers that it's not quite an exact replica of his world. Look out for the burning witch porno, monster orgies, the religious blimps, and the penis monsters. That's about the time that Alfonso remembers that he let one of these inhabitants out into his world with his wife (Marian Álvarez)... whoops.

This is another slice of originality that I enjoyed, but I will say that the differences in universes seemed a little too silly for my liking. The concept as a whole is awesome - there's this alternate universe that seems exactly like your own, but with huge differences that aren't immediately noticeable? Sign me up, I want to see where this goes. It just gets a little too silly for my liking when it dives into the world of penis monsters and vagina dentata. I'm not above witnessing a piece of sexualized horror, but this just went over the line, and not in a good way. It was more silly than terrifying. I enjoyed the idea, but it just seemed like they went for shock value to cap it off and it fell flat. 6/10.

directed by Justin Benson
The final story focuses on four skaters - Danny (Nick Blanco), Jason (Chase Newton), Taylor (Shane Brady), and "Gas Money Kid" (Peter Villalba) - who head down to Tijuana, Mexico in order to get some shots for their latest skateboarding video. They quickly find a tunnel out in the middle of nowhere that seems perfect, even though there's that little thing about occult symbols and religious artifacts all over the place. They ignore it and start skating, and that's when a chanting man shows up out of nowhere. Suddenly, there's a horde of... things... coming down on our skater heroes. I'm not sure if you'd label them as zombies or demons or just plain old animated skeletons with machetes, but whatever you want to call them, they're out for blood.

This is your standard monster movie fare, and I'll give it credit for being entertaining in that right. There's nothing new or terribly original here, as it's the standard "heroes versus horde of zombies / demons / skeletons / whatever" that we've all seen before, but at least it's done right. The gore is great, the kills are good, and the monster makeup effects are pretty damned good. I enjoyed this one, I can't deny that, but it's not worth the price of admission alone. 7/10.

When you do the math and average it out, those four scores come out to a 6/10 for the film as a whole, and I feel that that's an appropriate overall rating. It's certainly not a bad movie, and there's definitely some interesting ideas here, but it's also a step down for the series and it's far from amazing. Give it a rental or stream it through Netflix, but don't go out of your way to add this one to your collection.
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