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Fantastic Fest capsule review: V/H/S VIRAL

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com

Though it makes zero sense as a “found footage” movie (here, “found footage” just means shot-on-video handheld style and annoying editing more than finding the footage as a plot point), this is a decent horror anthology hampered by the contraints of its chosen “format.” This isn’t just for folks who worship at the altar of, say, “Silent Hill.”

And don’t expect it to have any realtionship to the previous two movies. Or, rather, if it has one, it flew by me.

With footage of a possessed ice cream truck linking the three stories together, “Viral” delivers three short storie varying in tone and form. (The ice cream truck link-footage is far and away the worst story here.)

Gregg Bishop’s “Dante the Great” is a solid little movie about a magician who finds a genuinely magic object. Feeling more like a demo for a longer film than a true short, “Dante” nevertheless hums along with a solid “power corrupts” them.

The strongest, weirdest piece is Nacho Vigalondo’s “Parallel Monsters,” about a scientist who opens a door to another dimension. Working feaverishly in his basement, our hero turns on his portal only to find…himself staring back. Turns out he is doing the exact same thing in that other dimension. There is much excitement: It works! Then, an idea: Let’s exploreeach other’s worlds. Bad idea. Bad, bad, bad idea. For things are very different indeed “over there.” A strong, deeply creepy (with impressively disturbing effects) little movie that, frankly, would do well to be expanded to full length.

“Bonestorm” is about some skate kids who find themselves in the middle of a Mexican death cult and, man alive, filming stuff with GoPros has got to stop right now. The plot isn’t half bad (skaters head to Tijuana, choose to skate on pentagram, how was this a good idea, guys?) but it is just exhausting to watch.

“V/H/S Viral” screens again 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23.