With the last two 'V/H/S' films I think I would call myself a champion of this little horror anthology. Enjoyed the first one quite a bit, and enjoyed the second one even more. So a third V/H/S can't be a bad thing… or maybe it is too much of a good thing. Or not enough of the old thing. You see things are a tad bit different this time around and I don't think I was completely on board with the changes.
The film starts in traditional fashion with its introductory story, known as 'the wraparound' which will bridge the other stories in this anthology. This story, directed by Michael Sarmiento, is different than the other films wraparounds in that it doesn't introduce the future segments, and takes up more time in the film. Regardless of all of that, this story concerns a young man riding his BMX through what I think is Los Angeles, while the police chase a runaway Ice Cream truck, with the video of the chase being broadcast to folks cell phones making them go crazy. We will return to that.
Dante the Great directed by Gregg Bishop. The best story of the bunch, in my opinion, but shot in the style of a Real Crime story like one would see on TruTV as opposed to the found footage style that has been the hallmark of the series. Dante (Justin Welborn) was once a trailer park living amateur magician until he found the Cloak of Houdini. Or the cloak Houdini threw away because it was completely evil. His former assistant Scarlet (Emily Argo) largely tells the story through found footage, police interviews and performance videos, as we see the rise of Dante, his truly amazing tricks, which include sending audience members halfway across the world, and we learn the price that has to paid to keep this magic train rolling. Again, we enjoyed this one the most, and we here at the FCU are baffled why Gregg Bishop isn't one of the busiest film directors working today.
Parallel Monsters directed by Nacho Vigalondo. It's late one night Gustavo and has just, amazingly, built a portal to another dimension in his basement. On a personal note, my older brother has been working on just such a device, but with no success. I think. But Gustavo's device works like a charm, and damn if his other self in the dimension he just opened managed to make his work as well. The Gustavo's decide to spend fifteen minutes exploring each other's worlds since both their worlds and lives… I mean they are both married to the same woman… are identical. Kind of. Well… not really. It's that 'not really' part that will be issue for both of these cats. This one… we kind of liked it, but it was really, really weird.
Bone Storm directed by Aaron Scott Moorhead and Justin Benson. Danny and Jason like to ride skateboards and play Jackass. The guy videotaping their shenanigans tells them of some awesome skateboarding opportunities in Tijuana (?) so they grab gas money guy and off they go. They find a great place complete with a Pentagram star in a circle filled with all kinds of evil symbols. I know that's where I'd want to skate. Well, after one of them bleeds in the pentagram, all hell breaks loose. Literally. Voodoo monsters appear out of nowhere chasing our super obnoxious skateboarders, and I can't remember if they made it out or not, and I just saw the movie a few minutes ago. This was probably because I disliked this particular vignette, and the characters in it, more than any of short stories in all of the VHS movies I've seen up to this point. Our skateboarders were unlikable to a fault, the voodoo monsters were annoying, the action was repetitive, and this went on for what felt like an eternity.
Back to the wraparound where some stuff happens with our BMX biker that I'm not quite sure of. This too was very unsatisfying.
There was a fourth story, apparently, but it got cut out for some reason. I'm going to assume this cut story was terrible or something, but this caused some issues which I believe is part of the problem with 'V/H/S: Viral'. This forced the people cobbling this thing together to make certain segments longer so this movie could have an acceptable length. This wraparound had segments in between that went on far too long, with not a lot happening in this extended length. Watching cops slow chase an ice cream truck and watching some guy chase them on a BMX just wasn't all that thrilling. Then with Bonestorm, nothing seemed to work, at least not for me, as the Go-Pro helmet cams got real annoying real fast, then the amazingly repetitive hit a zombie with a skateboard, run, and the do it over and over and over again didn't make for very exciting cinema. Much less horror cinema. What I'm saying is with the missing segment added in, these other segments would've been cut a lot shorter and I bet be a little more entertaining, but I guess that's neither here nor there right now.
But we did enjoy 'Dante the Great' a whole bunch and 'Parallel Monsters' wasn't so bad either. But it still pains me to say, that is if this is the end of the V/H/S/ trilogy, it has gone out a sour note.