October is the month of all things creepy-crawly, so when I was perusing the depths of Netflix horror options and saw the unsettling image for Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s “Viral,” I knew I needed to watch it.
“Viral” is a horror film that documents the treacheries of a parasite apocalypse. We meet two squabbling sisters, Emma and Stacey, who are trying to survive the perils of being the new kids at their high school and understand their parents’ rocky relationship, when their peers grow sick and begin attacking others. The parasite outbreak spreads rapidly and the whole country begins to shut down. The town gets quarantined, all cell phone signal vanishes and the military goes door-to-door to evacuate families and capture any infected people. Emma and Stacey, whose parents are out of town when the quarantine is initiated, team up with the boy next door to survive, but the parasite is desperate to keep spreading.
In all honesty, this film lacks any sort of originality. It’s overfilled with common tropes and movie conventions. None of the events in this movie came as a surprise. That said, there were a few redeeming factors that made “Viral” at least a mediocre experience.
Firstly, the film delivered in the disturbing department. I’m not especially squeamish when I’m watching scary movies, but there were some scenes I couldn’t help but cringe at and look away from. That doesn’t sound like it should be a positive, but I have peculiar preferences. I was looking to be perturbed by this film, and I was.
The best part of this movie was the characterization, though. The sisters seemed like real people, which is the most important factor of movies, in my opinion. They had complicated personalities and I was able to relate to them. If I hadn’t connected to these characters, I wouldn’t have been able to sit through this entire movie, but I was interested in how everything would play out for these characters.
Overall, “Viral” wasn’t an unenjoyable movie, but it also didn’t bring a whole lot to the table. I don’t think anybody who chooses to skip this movie would be missing out on much.