VIRAL (2016) Reviews and overview

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‘Fear what’s inside’

Viral is a 2016 American found footage science fiction horror film directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost (Nerve, Paranormal Activity 3 and 4) from a screenplay by Christopher Landon and Barbara Marshall. It is an IM Global and Blumhouse International/Busted Shark production, from producers Jason Blum, Sherryl Clark, and Matt Kaplan. It stars Analeigh Tipton, Sofia Black D’Elia, Michael Kelly and Brianne Howey.


Teenage sisters Emma (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey (Analeigh Tipton) live a normal life until their small suburban neighborhood is stricken with a mysterious parasitic virus.

As the disease rapidly spreads throughout the town, the two band together to barricade themselves from infection. But it may already be too late – when the virus enters their home, the sisters are faced with an impossible choice: protect each other, or survive the virus…



“It’s weird to say this about a film that features giant worms being pulled out of people’s necks, but “Viral” is a charming and heartfelt experience. But there isn’t enough to it to Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 19.07.43really make it stand out. There’s definitely something here and you feel like they almost had it figured out, but it just never gets there. There are a lot of good components in this film like the dialog, performances, and relationship building but the film is missing some key element to tie them all together.” Jason McDonald,

Viral offers some decent, yet not gratuitous, splatter, believable, likeable characters and some crackerjack pacing. The dialogue isn’t your typical teen horror tripe either; the verbiage is thoughtful and not expository. And at its core, the movie is really about the relationship between the two sisters, their bond and how much they love each other and stick together.” Chris Alexander, Coming Soon

“There is a chance Viral will hook younger audiences who have not experienced many disease-based horror films in the past (especially those who somehow missed The Faculty), though it’s unclear if genre fans will be as easy to entertain. The film’s a perfectly fine thriller that boasts a few decent performances, but the chances of anyone even remembering its name in two years’ time seems minimal given the lack of originality inherent in the script.” James Shotwell, Substream


“Throughout, the most performative aspects of teenagehood are seen less as flaws than as sparks for rebellion, like the scene where students go to a rager in defiance of a curfew that’s issued after several teens come down with the virus. Where a nastier film might have treated how the party becomes ground zero for the virus’s spread as a punchline, Viral pushes the carnage to the sidelines so as to less cynically home in on how young lives cope with danger in communal spaces.” Ed Gonzalez, Slant

“I could have used a bigger, more tragic ending. But that’s just me. I’m never about the Final Girl trope. I want movies to end as realistically and gory if possible. I did like that it was about family, and it was nice to see a girl in a horror movie be smart, if only part of the time. I was glad to see that it didn’t just end tied up in a happy little bow.” Vicki Woods, Bloody Blog

” … let down by a screenplay that does not provide enough scares or squirms. The action is largely confined to the Drakeford’s nondescript suburban home. The distinct nature of the threat is given out piecemeal and is still unclear by the end of the film. Are they full-on ass-wild zombies or some type of nesting predators with a hive mind and bad posture? Who knows? Worse, by the end, who cares?” Meet Mr. Karma

Cast and characters:

  • Analeigh Tipton as Stacey
  • Sofia Black D’Elia as Emma
  • Michael Kelly as Emma’s Father
  • Brianne Howey as Tara
  • Linzie Grey as Gracie
  • Travis Tope as Evan Klein
  • Colson “MGK” Baker


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