Moar Doug and We’re All Sick (V/H/S: Viral – 2014)

So New Mobility, the magazine Doug used to edit, ran an obituary this month – it’s on page 12 of this issue. And hearing about that and looking up his name to see how the scholarship fund was going, I found this from a few weeks back, from LGBT Weekly: “The Inspiring Life of Doug Lathrop.” LOL…like I said before….he woulda hated that title.

A lot of people loved Doug.

And the scholarship fund can still use funding, just FYI.

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I watched the third V/H/S movie a few days ago and got busy for a couple days after, so I haven’t posted anything about movies I’ve seen or watched. (A few – we went out and saw Gone Girl Sunday, which I thought was a pretty great adaptation of a pretty hard to adapt novel. And I novel I liked, even. And Evonne loved it too and then we went home and plotted against each other.)

V/H/S: Viral wisely steps away from the strict Found Footage Dogme of the first two films – even for people who like the conceit, and I’m one of them, there’s only so much found footage movieing one can take. Weirdly enough, the standout segment of the film – Nacho Vigalondo’s “Parallel Monsters” – deviates from the found footage formula not at all, but seems like it’s got less of it than the other bits. Go figure.

Vigalondo’s short film stands out so hard in part because…the rest of the movie just isn’t that great. I was kinda disappointed in the second V/H/S movie after loving the first – the segments all had a sameness that seemed to point to serious lack of coordination or something. For starters, every single segment involves somebody wearing a camera on their head or body and…just waiting for the same thing to happen to them that happens to every same character in every segment. The eye will come out and look at the body, the head will come off and look at the body, the dog will die and watch itself die along with its masters. One slog through inevitable doom like that would have been enough, or two maybe. All of them, and all put together so similarly, was…just numbing. The first movie was a mix of story types and styles and ways of telling, like a good anthology movie should be.

But the second movie also had a standout piece, in that case Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans’ “Safe Haven,” a tale of journalistic hubris gone apocalyptically wrong. I don’t know if that short was as good as Vigalondo’s contribution to Viral, but it is much longer. It takes up a big chunk of V/H/S 2, so you can recommend the movie based solely on that great horror quickie by the guys who did the Raid movies.

I don’t know if I could recommend V/H/S: Viral that way, the rest of the movie is so weak. The wraparound segment, especially, is…just terrible. Another break from the first two movies: instead of being a static We’re In Some Creepy Rando’s House Full of Creepy Videos, Let’s Watch Them Until They Kill Us thing, there’s an actual story of sorts and the damn thing goes all over Los Angeles trying to indict the viewer in a Michael Henke manner and totally failing. At that or anything else, it’s a mess. And it will not make you feel remotely conflicted or morally culpable in the mostly meh-at-best movie you just watched, even if you do watch the odd Russian traffic accident on YouTube.

But Vigalondo’s short is really good and…the guy just does not make enough movies. Rent Timecrimes or Extraterrestial and wait for Netflix  for V/H/S: Viral? Hell, even Vigalondo’s recent misstep (IMO), Open Windows, is more interesting than any of the other segments in this movie and has similar aims and methods (browsers and mobile and webcams instead of GoPros and infrared security cams).

Also, there are two other segments. Some shit about a magician with a cape that eats people and skate punks who go to Mexico and get killed by Mexican voodoo.  You can catch up on Twitter during those.

 

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