V/H/S: Viral

V/H/S: Viral

Basically total fucking garbage. I do not understand how the first two V/H/S films were so damn good and this is so damn atrocious.

Well besides the fact that they pretty much completely switched up creative teams and aesthetic.

But it's not like they got a bunch of chumps to make this one. I like four of the five directors here! I like them a hell of a lot! But none of them delivers anything of even minor quality here.

This barely even feels like a V/H/S film at all, completely tossing aside the lo-fi vibe and ugly nihilism of the first two in favor of a more manic energy, nor does it continue the subtle but present narrative arc of the first two. None of these directors feel comfortable playing with the found footage conceit, paying it minor lip service but throwing it out in favor for more conventional styles when it starts to feel limiting. Which is a shame, because the first two were some of the best found footage films we've gotten, in terms of how they used the conceit. The first one specifically - the second one never felt uncomfortable with the format, but the first was one of the few films that I'd argue needed to be found footage - each short uses the conceit in an incredibly imaginative way, and all would lose something if shot in a more conventional style. These guys are putting in a half-assed effort because the V/H/S movies are supposed to be found footage, and it's super disappointing.

So onto the shorts. The wraparound is by Marcel Sarmiento, who made Deadgirl (which was pretty good) and D is For Dog (which was amazing). His work here has none of the juxtaposition of the grotesque and the beautiful that defines his work, instead deliver a very visually loud and generally incoherent story about an ice cream truck that broadcasts viral videos that make people crazy? I think? It's just a bunch of screaming and quick cuts and none of it makes sense and there's so little substance that he keeps on cutting away to this random vignettes that have nothing to do with anything and I think this is supposed to be funny but it's great grating and obnoxious from the word go.

I've already given this movie more words than it deserves, so here's a quick rundown of the rest: Gregg Bishop's short is fucking atrocious, and a solid contender for worst segment in any horror anthology ever (it's not quite Chillerama Werebear bad, but it's close). Nacho's is the closest to being good (and has some solid imagery) but it's clearly a scrapped idea for a feature (I wouldn't be surprised if everyone was only given a week or two to put these shorts together, as this was clearly a quickly pulled together project to keep the V/H/S movies on an annual schedule) and doesn't do anything interesting with its premise. Benson & Moorhead's is awful, and frankly doesn't feel remotely like anything they've ever made, replacing their heady, talky intellectual style with teenagers punching skeletons with skateboards for what feels like an eternity. Nacho's might be bad, but it's still obviously Nacho. B&M's feels like it was shot in an afternoon for some quick cash.

Long story short, this is awful and basically has no reason to exist, and I hope this doesn't kill the franchise because Wingard & Co. clearly had some good ideas (and the way V/H/S 2 ended you know they were building to something bigger) but frankly if this lazy cash in takes the franchise down with it, well, it's Miska's own damn fault.