May 26, 2024

Down With the Worm Flu – Viral (2016)

When it comes to anything crawling under one’s skin, behind the eye, or flying out the ear – you’ve got my attention. There’s nothing more frightening and disturbing to me in reality, than the idea of little parasites traveling through my system.
Heebie Jeebies on Level ‘Get The F*ck Outta Here’.

viralViral [2016], by the title, will come off deceiving to most. It is not – in fact – about a virus, but a parasitic infection that spreads like an aggressive virus through the transmission of blood. This ‘Worm Flu’, is caused by a worm-like parasite that wiggles its tiny nasty self into your body if you come into contact with an infected person’s blood and creates very hungry, very brutal hosts.

Emma (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) are sisters fairly new to Canyon County and the quiet little cul-de-sac of Shadow Canyon Estates. Their father, Michael Drakeford, (Michael Kelly) was recently hired in as a new biology teacher at the local high school. Emma’s sickly friend, Gracie, leaves abruptly in the middle of his convenient on topic parasite lesson and when Emma goes looking for her, she finds Gracie on the ground convulsing. She runs for the nurse while some poor nameless kid comes to the girls’ aide and gets spat on. Poor, poor kid. Goes to show you: not all good deeds go unpunished!

viral5The girls’ father leaves them after school to pick their mother up from the airport during a recent quarantine placed over half of California. Completely ignoring the obvious threat that exists via care packages delivered by the CDC, the neighborhood teens remain true to their predictably reckless nature and throw a party in a mid-built home with booze, music, and that previously mentioned poor-kid-turned-infected running rampant through the house. To protect Emma, Stacey pushes her sister out of harm’s way and falls victim to the projectile worm blood. Ew.

It becomes apparent the following morning, the ‘Worm Flu’ is spreading fast. Daddy and Mommy Drakeford are walled off outside of the quarantine zone. Communication and television access to the outside world has been terminated. Marshall Law has been declared and it becomes a felony to harbor any of the infected, leaving Emma and her neighbor crush, Evan (Travis Trope), to viral6protect them.
Survival Mode: Activated.

Viral is a surprisingly decent teen sci-fi horror that is a tad reminiscent of The Faculty, only there is no definitive source regarding these parasites and the reasoning for a world-wide outbreak. You don’t get exposed to the parasitic worms often [ok, we’ll go with hardly], but it doesn’t change the fact they turn people [though, only showing a few] into gnarly blind zombie-ish cannibals [not zombies]. It is a light bloody tale with some acceptable violence, wrapped in a little slow-paced, well-acted bundle of typical hormonal teen drama.
…I probably made that sound worse than it is…
Not quite horror. Not scary. But, not bad at all. Even with a few moments that didn’t make sense to me (what was the point of scanning with an ultraviolet light, when it clearly doesn’t work?), I could easily give this movie 7 out of 10 Botflies.

This may also be because I really, really, REALLY fear parasitic violations to my body.


*This is not a POV found footage film as IMDB makes is sound*

Directed By: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Produced By: Jason Blum
Written By: Christopher Landon & Barbara Marshall
Starring: Sofia Black-D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Michael Kelly, Machine Gun Kelly

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