Blu-ray Review: V/H/S: VIRAL

VHV_BR_Skew_AV/H/S: VIRAL is the third and final entry in the found-footage horror anthology series. This third entry features segments written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead and Gregg Bishop. This release also includes the never-before-seen short film by Todd Lincoln.

A police chase after a deranged ice cream truck has captivated the attention of the greater Los Angeles area. Dozens of fame-obsessed teens flock to the streets with their video cameras and camera phones, hell-bent 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. V/H/S: Viral follows four stories of LA-based, fame-obsessed teens hell-bent on posting the next viral video sensation. Yet when a stash of VHS tapes is discovered featuring the wannabe celebrities at the moments of their deaths, it becomes clear that those capturing scandalous videos are meeting gruesome ends.

Vicious Circles was directed by Marcel Sarmiento and stars Patrick Lawrie and Noelle Ann Mabry. This serves as the wraparound segment that follows this vlogger who searching for his girlfriend after she just sort of disappears while he’s trying to capture this ice cream van being chased by the police. The kind of drags along, almost like filler time as we watch the vlogger chase down this mysterious ice cream van. Vicious Circles does include a few graphic scenes that gorehounds will enjoy, especially the one where we watch a guy get drug down the street by the van. Ouch! This is easily the weakest segment and it’s all up hill from here.

Dante the Great was directed by Gregg Bishop and stars Justin Welborn and Emmy Argo. This fun segment follows a Magician who finds a cloak that is full of dark magic. As this short plays out we watch Dante sort of turn to the dark side because of this cloak. He ends up going up against his beautiful assistant as well as plenty of heavily armed police and in extreme and epic showdown. The stand out special effects in this segment were fan-freaking-tastic and a blast to watch. To top all of this off, Dante the Great was filmed at the historic Alabama Theatre right here in my home town, Birmingham, Al. I wish I would have known this so I could have joined in on the fun.

Parallel Monsters was directed by Nacho Vigalondo and stars Marian Alvarez and Gustavo Salmerón. This wild segment follows a man who builds a machine that opens up to a parallel reality, almost mirror-like to his own. He quickly finds out that this alternate reality has some deadly differences. I’m not going to spoil this for you but the differences between these two realities are not only hilarious but awesome. There were some neat special effects used here plus I think I saw a few puppets.

Bonestorm was directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and stars Nick Blanco, Chase Newton and Shane Bradley. This segment follows a group of cocky and unlikable skateboarding thrillseekers that find themselves in Tijuana where they’re caught in the middle of some kind of demonic ritual. Everything is captured POV / first person shooter style as they have to fight and battle for their lives to escape this horrifying situation they get themselves into. There’s some pretty cool gory effects and visuals used in this segment plus there’s some pretty creepy looking characters that show up.

Gorgeous Vortex was directed by Todd Lincoln and stars Jayden Robison. This is hidden at the end of the credits so be sure you keep watching. This dark and artsy segment follows a beautiful woman on her exotic and deadly adventure. There’s not one word spoken in this segment but it plays along really well so you don’t lose interest in it. Gorgeous Vortex features beautiful women, drugs, masked creepers, a really cool looking demon and sacrifice. This segment has nothing to do with the rest so it’s really just an added bonus and it’s a good one.

All in all I really liked V/H/S: Viral.  It’s better than the first one but I’m thinking it’s not quite as strong as the second. The weakest segment was the wraparound Vicious Circles, with the strongest being Dante the Great or maybe it’s Parallel Monsters – both of these were really great so it’s a tie. The stories were fun and some of the special effects were freaking insane. This low budget indie production has some special effects that look 10 times better than some of that crap that comes out of Hollyweird. Kudos to the directors and FX teams that pulled this off. There’s also plenty of blood and gore for the hounds out there to enjoy.

The front of the packaging features the creepy cool artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of extras. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were both crisp and clear. Each found-footage segment is filmed differently  so the video does vary from found-footage style to the POV shaky cam style but it’s all intentional. Same goes with the sound, it just varies at times.

Bottom line is, V/H/S: Viral was a fun, original and exciting third and possibly final entry in this popular found-footage horror anthology series. This Blu-ray releases on February 17th and is definitely worth checking out. If you own the first two don’t even think about it, go pick this one up to complete your trilogy.

Distributor: Magnet Releasing

Run Time: 81 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: Good Stuff!

  •       AXS TV: A Look at V/H/S: Viral
  •       Bonestorm: Behind the Scenes Featurette, FX Storyboards, Artwork/FX Photo Gallery, BTS Camera Stills
  •       Commentary with Directors
  •       Dante the Great: Smoke & Mirrors – Behind the Magic of Dante the Great, BTS Photo Gallery, Production Stills Photo Gallery, Green Screen Poster Shoot Photo Gallery
  •      Interviews with Marcel Sarmiento – Writer and Director for Vicious CirclesNoelle Ann Mabry who plays Lulu in Vicious CirclesPatrick Laurie who plays Kev in Vicious CirclesGregg Bishop – Writer and Director for Dante The GreatJustin Welborn who plays Dante in Dante The GreatJustin Benson and Aaron Moorhead – Writers and Directors for Bonestorm.
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