Whatever happened to Dimension Films? They’re great.
Viral is a 2016 horror/suspense outbreak movie put out by suspense/horror mavens, Dimension Films. And like most Dimension Films entries, especially of the 90’s. This movie involves teenagers! And in classic Kevin Williamson fashion, they are spunky, overly intelligent and self aware.
A mysterious outbreak sneaks into the United States, starting as a cold and ending as a zombie epidemic. The disease first seems controlled until it’s discovered online through viral videos, that there could be alien beings in the form of worms, burrowing into the skulls of humans and possessing them to infect everyone else on the planet. As the symptoms at first only seem like a standard virus, the world is slow to catch on, leaving two young sisters to be hip on the truth of the matter through Youtube conspiracy.
Though Viral is essentially your standard Zombie Outbreak Horror film, what makes it special is that it harkens back to the Teen Slashers of the 90’s, with a focus on the problems of the teens everyday lives, as much as a focus on the plot at hand. Like in Scream the characters are very aware of each other and the situation they’re in, responding to each other’s quirks and hang ups in an urgent expressive manner. Viral contains the classic horror avatars, such as: The good girl, the slut, the cute guy and the fool, but all enthusiastically fleshed out and animated as characters, which in return come off more realistic and adventurous at the same time.
There’s a budding romance between the female lead character Emma (played by Sofia Black-D'Elia) and the male lead character Evan (played by Travis Tope) that plays sweet yet playful yet charmingly awkward, perfectly complementing the scares of the film. As those characters gradually depend on each other throughout the film, it feels earned as there is a while of time dedicated to their relationship with witty flair and back and forth emotional beats, Dimension Films can’t quit. You as well get razor sharp biting humor by Analeigh Tipton as Stacey and Machine Gun Kelly as CJ which is reminiscent of Tatum and Stu from Scream.
Over all Viral is exciting, cleverly spoken and creatively solitary. The movie doesn’t escalate beyond its means, making it an experience of……..“What if?”. It’s one location of an outbreak in suburbia being seeing through the eyes of teenagers, really lends to the realism throughout the movie and best of all the characters look like they should be in college instead of high school, so again bringing us back to the good ole days of 90’s suspense horror we miss so much, that were fun yet chilling yet somewhat realistic within reason. All I can say is, I hope Viral and Green Room bring back an intelligence and self aware joviality that has been missing in most modern horror. We don’t need more “window knock” frights we just need more raw wit.
- Maurice Jones