Viral: Another Horror Dud Courtesy of Blumhouse Productions
Analeigh TiptonMichael Kelly
Ariel SchulmanHenry Joost
In 1 Cinema
With its infected-walking-dead-like-feasting-upon-humans scenario way past its sell by date, Viral – the latest horror creation from Blumhouse Productions – is one of those movies that leaves you wishing you’d spent the time doing something more interesting. There is nothing here you haven’t seen before and despite its occasional goriness, the overall result is still weak.
The story is centred on two sisters, Emma & Stacey Drakeford – played by Sofia Black-D’Elia and Analeigh Tipton respectively – who find themselves under a government-sanctioned house arrest following the fast spread of something scientists are referring to as Worm Flu, of which its symptoms include an increased appetite, bloody coughing and uncontrollable seizures, which eventually leaves the victims inhabited by a parasite before finally turning them into vicious killers. In order to prevent the further spread of the disease, the country have been placed under military quarantine which has, as it turns out, left Emma and Stacey without any adult supervision.
With their parents stuck elsewhere the girls – who are not really taking the whole situation too seriously – decide to head out to a party where, as these things usually go, they soon get a chance to experience first-hand just how dangerous the disease really is. With what was supposed to be just another teenage party turned into bloody anarchy, the two sisters – who are not exactly the best of friends – now need to work out their differences if they are ever to make it out alive.
The flaws are unfortunately aplenty in Viral and they’re not that hard to spot; but there is one thing that actually works and that’s the idea of telling the story through the eyes of a young teenager who, besides having to deal with trying to fit into her new surroundings whilst watching her parents’ marriage dwindle, now has to deal with something much more catastrophic and lethal. Setting it up so that the focus lies on one character rather than a whole bunch of people is a nice change from the norm and Black-D’Ella’s performance has much to do with it.
Unfortunately, Viral stumbles with everything else; there’s a lack of originality and an endless stream of ineffective scare set-ups that turn what was a potentially entertaining drama-horror – which also uses real-life footage as a way to add a level of realism – to just another one of the many films you will soon forget. Best suited for a home viewing – you know, when there’s nothing else on.