Independent horror has two beautiful claims to fame: it isn't afraid to go places most studio films shy away from, and if it's successful enough you can expect sequels on a more regular basis than a big-budget production house could accommodate. The V/H/S series has been the epitome of the system's beauty since 2012, and this year we're once again being treated to the lo-fidelity madness that the series is known for. Get ready for a new format of fear, as you watch the first trailer for V/H/S: Viral.
Epic Pictures Group released the trailer for all of the world to see, fittingly enough, on YouTube – the home of all things viral. Why is that so fitting? The video's official description says it all:
Fame-obsessed teens hell-bent on capturing the next viral video discover they are the stars of the latest internet sensation. V/H/S VIRAL is the third and most intense installment in the groundbreaking horror franchise from the world's top genre filmmakers."
So it looks like our framing device this time around is teens trying to become the next Chocolate Rain or David After Dentist; but instead they become another entry in the Faces Of Death canon. Viral videos turning into a source of death and horror have been done before, lest we forget there was once an actual video cassette that promised viewers seven days to live after they'd watched it. But hell, if Ringu can try to reinvent itself in a more YouTube friendly context, why can't V/H/S? Judging by the footage on display in the trailer, it looks like its an approach that's going to work for the better, as well as eliminate the sort of nitpicks fans have had with past installments. You know, like why someone would use VHS tapes to film Skype conversations.
So what do folks like Todd Lincoln (The Apparition) and Nacho Vigalondo (Open Windows), two of the six directors behind V/H/S: Viral, have in store for our eager eyes? Deadline reported in its Cannes coverage of the films acquisition that it will involve:
"...tales of a deranged illusionist, a homemade machine that opens a door to a parallel world, teen skaters involved in a Mexican death ritual, and a sinister organization tracking a serial killer – all tied together in a mythology that takes the V/H/S franchise into the internet age."
I'm going to go out on a huge, proverbial limb here and say that the deranged illusionist is going to be my favorite of V/H/S Viral, if not my favorite of the series. The over the top showmanship of a modern illusionist, mixed with a telepathic powered killing spree, makes for a perfect viral video conceit in the horror universe V/H/S has cultivated. As if the trailer wasn't enough, we also have a look at the film's poster:
Notice how the series' recurring motif of skulls and video tape is preserved, despite the film's promise to jump to the digital age. It doesn't matter that V/H/S: Viral is promising to scare us with the YouTube age, the image is still as effective as the first time it as used, and it really ties the series together. We don't have a release date for V/H/S: Viral just yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if this flick is headed for an October release date, much like the first film.