Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Emma's life has been turned upside down. Her sister Stacey is insufferable after they moved to a new town with their father, without their mother. When a highly contagious disease rips their town apart, the sisters are separated from both parents. Their town is in quarantine and the girls are suddenly living in a world of martial law where they can be searched and killed if they see fit. Can they put aside their differences and band together to survive?
Emma and Stacey couldn't be more different. Emma is studious and kind of annoyingly perfect. Her crush is Evan, a generically hot guy who she is too cowardly to even start a conversation with. She lists Stacey as Lucifer in her phone because she's embarrassing and demanding. Stacey is the better sister because she is brutally honest and direct without caring about the consequences. Emma fits society's expectation for women perfectly while Stacey doesn't at all. It's refreshing to see a female character that is unabashedly sexual, loud, and doesn't care what others think. She isn't afraid to go after what she wants. Analeigh Tipton gives Stacey fire and also a softer emotional side that truly cares for Emma.
The zombies in this film are caused by parasites. They are only passed on my blood, but with the amount of blood flying around, many are infected. It starts with increased appetite that is a little weird, but not inhuman. Then the seizures and coughing up blood starts to spread the parasites as far as possible. After a while, the infected can't see, relying on mostly sound (but not smell for some reason) to catch their prey. When reports of this parasite arrive in the news, the high school science teacher covers the behaviors and transmission of such parasites. The information was shown in an organic way that didn't take away from the story.
The largest flaw of the film is that it's focused on Emma, an fairly uninteresting girl with a mediocre romance with a boy she barely knows. Compared to the rest of the film, this storyline pales in comparison, but is shown to be more important. Evan has practically no character development and he may as well be a prop who does whatever anyone else tells him to. Stacey is the much more interesting sister and she's relegated to the background. The ending was lackluster and I wouldn't be interested in seeing another film. The one thing besides the parasitic nature of the disease that sets it apart is the quarantine. This isn't seen a lot in film and it lends both a claustrophobic and desolate feel to the latter part of the film. Viral is an enjoyable film, but the focus on teen romance over an apocalypse level zombie outbreak brings the film down. It reminded me more of a young adult novel rather than a rated R horror film.
My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins