Deckard🥃’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I know now that what he does are not illusions. It's magic."
V/H/S: Viral took everything that made V/H/S/2 so good and threw it in the gutter. This is worse than the first V/H/S film and even more inconsistent and uneven. I knew something wasn't going to be right when I saw the subtitle of "Viral". It doesn't even try to connect the segments with the video/frame narrative.
Just like my previous reviews for V/H/S and V/H/S/2, I will individually review each of the segments here in V/H/S: Viral in the shortest manner possible and then round everything off at the end of the review.
This is the frame narrative and centers on Kevin constantly shooting videos with his camcorder of his girlfriend. One day, a high speed pursuit happens near his neighborhood, and he becomes obsessed with trying to capture the footage in hopes of creating a viral video. Missing his opportunity, the ice cream truck involved in the pursuit and takes Iris. The truck makes constant circles and broadcasts strange images to peoples cell phones which turn them violent. Meanwhile, Kevin goes after the truck hoping to get Iris back.
It was nice to see a different attempt at a frame narrative, but this one is constantly annoying, as it's egged on by the annoyances of Kevin and the horrible attempt at tying in multiple sub plots in just one frame narrative. The "VHS Effects" that are used to create a more home movie like effect are cheap, and really poor. Added in blips and cuts and static really make this one too jumpy and overall annoying to watch.
Dante The Great
Dante is a failed illusionist, until one day he comes across a cloak that was believed to have once been owned and used by Harry Houdini. The cloak turns Dante (The Great) into a superstar and grants him great powers, but he uses it to kill prior female assistants. Police are notified about this by his current assistant, Scarlet and he is taken into custody, but not before escaping. Dante uses the cloak to kill the police officers, but not before Scarlet turns the tables and uses it against him, killing him. After the events, she believes to have burned the cloak, but is instead taken by it.
This is the absolute worst segment in all of the V/H/S films. It isn't even a found footage segment at all. It uses too many focal points to capture the ordeal, and combines use of interviews with people and the news, which really ruins the effect that was established in the first two films. The less that's said about this segment, the better.
An inventor, Alfonso creates an inter-dimensional portal to a parallel universe and meets his parallel self. They cautiously greet each other and decide to swap lives for fifteen minutes. When Alfonso goes into Parallel Alfonso's life, everything seems a little normal, until he notices that this world is dominated by another religion, a demonic one. Two men that were meant to be a part of a ritual try to attack Alfonso with their demonic dicks (yes, you read that correct), but Alfonso escapes, and goes back into his world. There he finds that Parallel Alfonso (also demonic) has tried to attack his wife. In end, both Alfonso's are killed by their wives in their respective worlds.
This one is a probably the only decent one, but it still isn't great by a stretch. It uses the idea of going into a parallel universe where everything is worse and the rest from there goes downhill. It's adequately done by Nacho Vigalondo and is by far the best shot and best looking segment in V/H/S: Viral. It's a little bit of a slow burner, as it's only a matter of time before she hits the fan, but it's done with relative ease. It could've been a little better in areas, but all together, the only decent affair in V/H/S: Viral.
When three skateboarders are kicked out of their respective skate park for a fight, they need a place to finish their video. Their video director decides to go to Tijuana where they can by fireworks, alcohol, etc. and find a suitable place to finish their videos. While skating they come across a horde of cultists who surround them and attack them, kill all but two of the skateboarders. They defeat the cultists (before turning into resurrected skeletons) with their boards, and other means shortly before escaping.
I think this segment was more keen on trying to be inventive with the way it handled "found footage" and other camera types. Instead it's just as annoying and nauseating as the frame narrative. The skateboarders can't seem say anything other than "Fuck" and are a bunch of dicks. The make-up effects on the cultists was interesting, but as a whole, this segment is just as forgettable.
I'm not sure what the production company was thinking with V/H/S: Viral. I'm sure they all thought it would be interesting to mix things up instead of trying to retread the previous two films again. With critical success riding on their backs, they pretty much fuck it all up in favor of "going viral." It's a extremely terrible film that makes the first film look like it's just as good as the second (it isn't).
"I bet people will pay to watch me shoot your dick off."