V/H/S: Viral (2014) – Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Nacho Vigalondo, Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, and Todd Lincoln

The anthology horror series, V/H/S is a bit hit and miss, but the great thing about anthology films is if you don’t like one story, just hold on and see what comes along next. The third entry in the series is no different, there are some that could have been executed a little better, some that just felt like misfires, and there are some that work really well.

The shorts also plays with and breaks their own rules, cameras in locations where they wouldn’t be, coverage that couldn’t be without more set-ups, and cameras.

There’s a wrap-around story called Vicious Circles that sees a dangerous chase taking place, an ice cream truck is driving through neighbourhoods being followed by the police, and its striking down pedestrians including the girlfriend, Iris (Emilia Ares) of Kev (Patrick Lawrie) who is looking for internet fame and wants to go viral.

Interweaving with this are other tales, first up is Dante the Great, which is arguably my favourite of the collection. A magician, Dante (Justin Welborn) may be using real magic, thanks to his cloak, but it also requires sacrifices to maintain its power. His most recent assistant, Scarlett (Emmy Argo) goes toe to toe with him, even as the police close in.

Parallel Monsters, a Spanish entry in the series, is smart, creepy, and except for one silly reveal, works really well. Alfonso (Gustavo Salmeron) is working on his science experiment, a doorway, one that opens a passageway between worlds, in this case, on the other side is another version of Alfonso and his wife, Marta (Marian Alvarez).

The men agree to switch places for fifteen minutes to see what the other side is like, neither one is prepared for what they find. And like I said, barring one silly reveal, it works pretty well.

Bonestorm is the final short and was done by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done to date, but this one just didn’t work for me. I didn’t care for the camera placement choices or the way the story was told. There are some fun moments, but overall the sequence seems overlong and not very engaging.

It follows a pair of skateboarders, their cameraman, and some kid who gave them cash to slip over the border to Tijuana to shoot some vids for their channel. Unfortunately, they spill some blood on a strange set of symbols and are attacked by robed monsters, even as something bigger and more dangerous is being roused.

The Vicious Circles story closes out the tale, rather strangely and leaves us waiting for the next installment in the series. Viral wasn’t horrible, but some of the ideas and things just didn’t work as well as they could or should have.

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