A police chase after a deranged ice cream truck has captivated the attention of the greater Los Angelese area. Dozens of fame obsessed teens flock to the streets with their video cameras and camera phones, hellbent on capturing the next viral video. But there is something far more sinister occurring in the streets of L. A. than a simple police chase. A resounding effect is created onto all those obsessed with capturing salacious footage for no other purpose than to amuse or titillate. Soon the discovery becomes that they themselves are the stars of the next video, one where they face their own death.
The third entry in the V/H/S series, and I couldn’t wait to check this one out the moment I discovered it was available on VOD. As a horror anthology series that utilized the “found footage” style of format, these have been of better watchabilty than other full-length movies of the same variety. Maybe the found footage style is meant for bite sized bits of scariness, I don’t know. However, I found some time, and did the watchin’. And here’s the blow-by-blow of the shorts:
We start off with a wrap-around film that works as a buffer in-between the individual shorts, called Vicious Circles; a young man is wanting to make a video that will go viral (oh, I see what they did there), and manages to happen on something that would make his wish come true…at a great price, when we get to the payoff in the end. While he chases down his dream (and his abducted girlfriend), we’re treated to these short films…
“Dante the Great”
A two-bit illusionist discovers a cloak that grants him the power to perform real magic, which he uses to become the greatest illusionist alive. He just needs to regularly sacrifice his assistants to the cloak to maintain its power. What’s not required is videotaping the violent deaths of said previous assistants, which the current assistant finds. Wackiness ensues.
An amateur inventor named Alfonso gets his dimensional portal in his garage to work, and opens up a parallel dimension where his alternate self has opened things up on his side as well. After shaking hands (and somehow not imploding both realities into antimatter), they both agree to briefly explore each others’ respective realities. Alfonso Prime notes that the reality of Alfonso Alternate is nearly identical…until he realizes that everyone there worships Satan and sport genitalia dreamed up by H. P. Lovecraft. Wackiness ensues.
A handful of skateboarders and their video guy travel to Tijuana to videotape an amateur skating video, and inadvertently conjure up zombies for a Mexican death cult. Um, wackiness ensues.
As it stands, I understand that V/H/S Viral wasn’t as well enjoyed as the previous two entries in the anthology series, and I can understand why. This time out, there were only three shorts included, with a wrap-around that initially didn’t make much sense to me at first, which lead me to have to do a bit of research to find out what was going on with that. As far as the individual shorts go, I rather enjoyed them. Sure, they maybe didn’t have the same effect on me as, say, that Indonesian cult one on the second movie, or even that “I like you” girl from the first one (still have chills about her just thinking about it, now…which is why I bought her likeness on a shirt). But, they were still effectively chilling, and had nice EC Comics-level fun with the twists. If I had to choose, I would say Parallel Monsters was the best (you talk about a Freudian nightmare), followed by “Bonestorm” (which managed to make things creepy in broad daylight), with “Dante the Great” coming in at a distant third.
Overall, V/H/S Viral may be the weakest of the three collections, but not by much. Very much worth a look-see, and definitely watch this along with the others, back-to-back.