31 Days of Reviews: Viral (2016)

When a parasitic virus invades a quiet town, two teenage sisters must band together to survive, separated from their parents in a town under quarantine.

I wasn’t expecting too much from Viral when I decided to watch it. From the plot outline and film stills available to me, it looked like your average teen screamer with all the drama and questionable dialogue that goes with that. My interest was piqued because of the participation of Blumhouse, and I tend to be a fan of infection type movies, so I gave it a shot.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 9.05.00 PM

In short, the dialogue and performances weren’t as bad as I was expecting. It was very tolerable. The beginning I felt was actually really natural. The movie still features the typical teenage antics, such as house parties which I still don’t believe exist in real life. The bulk of the movie, however, isn’t about that. It’s not even about the infection really. It’s about sisterhood.

That may sound weird for this type of movie, but it was actually one of my favorite parts. You see these two sisters, played by Sofia Black-D’Elia and Analeigh Tipton, who have a pretty antagonistic relationship in the beginning. Despite getting into spats over boys and attitudes, you can still tell that they’re close. The journey back to this closeness is their major character arc throughout the story.

As for the parasitic virus part of the story, that’s a mixed bag. Since the virus isn’t the focal point of the story, the movie ultimately doesn’t focus on it all that much. It’s a present threat, but it takes a backseat. There are many times where the movie doesn’t allow you to see the carnage, instead focusing on the characters. That may be a bummer to some people.

It does have it’s gory moments for those of you who like that sort of thing. The virus is all about parasitic worms literally crawling around under the skin, in the head, through the eyes. You can use your imagination for that. I could have dealt without it personally, but the subdued gore is still there. It might just not be enough for some viewers.

My issues with the virus were more about what it was trying to be exactly. I wasn’t sure. The movie references zombie viruses as being parasitic in nature, using the host to pass on the virus to more and more victims. For the most part, I would say that the virus in this movie is very similar to that. It was just a bit hard to see what the creators wanted. Am I watching Contagion or World War Z? It leans toward the latter, but I wish it would have leaned a bit more in that direction if that is the direction it wanted to go.

In the end, Viral isn’t a bad movie. It’s pretty average to be completely honest. The only problem with average though is that it tends to be forgettable. Unfortunately, Viral was missing something to really make it stand out. I liked that it took the story in a different direction, but it wasn’t enough. Maybe a more dramatic ending would have helped. I can’t be sure. It was just missing something, and I wish I knew what it was.

If you have some time to kill, and you’re looking for something to watch, then you might want to give Viral a try. It’s surprisingly heartfelt for what it is. It’s not a masterpiece, but you may enjoy it.

I’m including an unofficial trailer because the official trailer shows way too much.


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