Parasites, dubbed by the net as #WORMFLU, infect and destroy civilisation. Two sisters, Emma and Stacey, wait it out in their home. But things soon begin to get worse when one of them becomes infected…
It seems that now, not only are film producers scouring the internet for award-winning short horror films to explode into next summer’s biggest spooky hit – i.e. Lights Out (2016) – they are also trawling the worldwide web for the most popular disgusting videos for ideas. The parasites in Viral being inspired by rather gross clips of DIY bot fly larvae removal. So classy right? Surprisingly enough, the resulting film has plenty of it. Class, that is.
The film keeps its first act interesting by giving it the makeup of a suburban slasher movie with long empty school corridors – Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – and intruders lurking outside front doors at night – Scream (1996). Stacey’s buddy CJ is even a cool mix of cliché idiot slasher boyfriends. There’s also an amusing moment where one of the infected vomits on a Troye Sivan lookalike.
What I liked most about Viral is that its main cast is not stupid. They truly stick together and are not driven by the fear and hysteria that surrounds them. The complete opposites of the moronic, self-obsessed, lovesick gits you would find in movies like Cabin Fever (2002). Only that level of idiocy can bring about the ridiculous carnage that is missing here. I’m sure there are those whose attention span has now been whittled down to no longer than a 7-second Vine will find Viral boring, but even history’s greatest death scenes last longer than 7 seconds…
The relationship between the two sisters is the key to Viral’s appeal. The loyalty, the trust, the chemistry, the glaring differences in personality are all there. Stacey’s insistence that Emma get out of her shiny bubble is a joke that only gets funnier until things get serious. While Analeigh Tipton may or may not bear the stigma of America’s Next Top Model fame, she continues to prove herself as a capable actress, this film perhaps being her best performance yet, and I hope her rise follows that of starlets such as Kate Mara or Blake Lively.
Set off your emergency flare! Here’s a direct-to-DVD release from Blumhouse that actually isn’t a complete pile of crap.