The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - VIRUS: 32 | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - VIRUS: 32

virus 32 review
When a virus turns people into bloodthirsty maniacs, a security guard attempts to save her daughter.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Gustavo Hernandez

Starring: Paula Silva, Daniel Hendler, Pilar Garcia, Rasjid César, Sofía González

virus 32 poster

Not another bloody zombie movie. But wait, this one has a clever gimmick. Its running zombies (actually victims of a rage virus rather than the undead) have to rest for periods of 32 seconds. While this idea should lead to some suspenseful scenes, director Gustavo Hernández introduces his concept early on, only to seemingly forget about it until the final 10 minutes of the movie. Remove this unique element and you have another middle of the road zombie movie, albeit one with a greater attention to craft than most of its cynically produced rivals.

virus 32 review

Virus: 32 shares a similar setup with another 2022 Shudder acquisition, the Taiwanese movie The Sadness. Both movies see a city (in this case the Uruguayan capital Montevideo) become a battleground as its inhabitants succumb to a mystery virus that turns them into bloodthirsty savages, essentially fast-moving zombies of the type seen in Nightmare City, 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake.

Hernández's heroine is Iris (Paula Silva), a security guard at a seemingly disused and sprawling athletics club. Bucking the trend of bookish, innocent horror heroines, Iris is introduced smoking pot and drinking rum immediately prior to her night shift. She's also posited as a bad mom to her young daughter Tata (Pilar Garcia), whom she is forced to bring to work after forgetting it was her turn to take the kid off her ex-husband's hands.

virus 32 review

Iris and Tata get separated at the former's workplace when the lights go out, an occurrence that coincides with society collapsing on the streets outside. It's not long before the rabid maniacs make their way inside the club, leaving Iris in a battle to find Tata and make their escape.

Hernández is best known for his 2010 debut The Silent House. That movie gained international attention (and even a US remake starring Elizabeth Olsen) due to Hernández's decision to shoot the movie in apparently a single take, something that's become a cliché at this point but which was still fresh and exciting in 2010. In his latest movie's opening scene, we're led to believe he's adopting a similar tactic, with sweeping camera moves reminiscent of I am Cuba, as his camera goes in and out of apartments before seemingly attaching itself to a drone for a bird's eye tour of the collapse of Montevideo. After the credits the movie settles down into more traditional filmmaking and never quite repeats the thrills of that opening.

virus 32 review

Virus: 32 is most effective when it's a simple stalk and slash movie, with Iris attempting to evade various pursuers. Hernández's film would appear to be influenced by Spielberg's under-rated War of the Worlds, both in its working class, single parent protagonist and in how the camera snakes around lockers and corners in similar fashion to Spielberg's tense Tim Robbins sequence. There are moments when the film is a little too explicit in its influences, with a pregnancy subplot lifted straight from Snyder's Dawn of the Dead and a soundtrack that owes a significant debt to John Murphy's propulsive score for 28 Days Later. If it never lives up to its premise, it does at least provide the occasional well-executed, economical set-piece, and its unconventional heroine offers something different. Some viewers may find its violence towards children and animals unnecessarily nasty though.

Virus: 32
 is on Shudder from April 21st.

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