Viral follows two sisters and a handful of their friends as they try to survive an outbreak of a parasite that takes over the host. When the town becomes quarantined by the military, the sisters are forced to make due with the shelter of their home as the parasite spreads through the town. Will they live long enough to...experience love for the first time???
I believe the point of showing this scene is to make you wonder if one of them is indeed infected, have they just spread it to one another? The problem is that the subtlety is a bit too heavy, so instead you are left with two conflicting thoughts...are we witnessing the fall of both protagonists, or, is this movie all about doing whatever you can to get some action? The latter honestly feels as relevant as the former, which just adds another wrinkle to a well-rounded film.
Viral feels similar to Contracted and It Follows in its plot, as it has an underlying theme of STD parallels. Viral has a lot of intertwined drama between characters, and some of that is devoted to the younger sister's social aspirations as they compare and contrast her older sister's sexual escapades. Are we dealing with scenarios of love in times of tragedy or desperate lust in hopes to "not die a virgin"? This isn't a strong motif, but it is lightly sprinkled throughout.
We aren't getting a whole-lot of fresh material on the horror front in this one. It's the usual unsuspecting town getting overrun by a disease that causes zombie-like symptoms. The film prefers to focus on the social and emotional aspects of this quarantine situation on a personal level; seeing how the teens react and interact to ever-foreboding news reports of a spreading disease.
I did appreciate that the government in this film followed reasonable quarantine procedures as opposed to, "well, this town's screwed...let's nuke it!" We are treated to the military shutting off roads to and from the town, providing rations to stranded people, and carefully, directly targeting homes with infected people.
The best scene in the film is hands-down the "procedure" scene. The gradual release of information throughout the film culminates in a "surgical" procedure to try and rid a protagonist of the parasite. I loved it for its relative accuracy on how that particular procedure works in reality, and it made it all-the-more effective. Since we already have our spoiler warning at the top, I'll allude to the scene...if you've ever owned a dog that as gotten a cuterebra, you know what this scene is like.
The film chooses to limit the information provided to you to what is displayed on television or the occasional anarchist YouTube video. It leaves the proper amount of speculation without leaving you completely in the dark. The performances are reasonably delivered, and I just don't have any significant complaints to muster outside of the incredibly awkward final moments. I watched the ending multiple times for any indication of foul play and I just couldn't see anything...hmm....maybe this movie was just about a teenage boy helping a girl survive a zombie apocalypse just to get to first base...
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 6/10