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Score: 82%
Rating: R
Publisher: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 85 Mins.
Genre: Horror/Suspense
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Viral is a zombie movie that focuses on a small set of characters as they have to deal with the early stages of the outbreak. They will be confronted with most of the hard decisions found in other movies, but with a different enough take to keep fans of the genre interested.

Emma (Sofia Black-D'Elia, The Messengers), Stacey (Analeigh Tipton, Warm Bodies, Lucy) and their dad, Michael, (Michael Kelly, House of Cards, Now You See Me), have just moved to a small rural town, and while their mother is supposedly not all that far behind, Emma starts to question if maybe her parents' relationship is having some problems.

Both Emma and Stacey have to deal with all of the new-kid issues like trying to fit in and meeting new people, but they also have the added stress of their dad being the new biology teacher and, oh yeah, there seems to be a new disease making its way from overseas. Of course, when this new disease turns out to be a parasitic creature that seems bent on spreading as fast as possible, many of the problems Emma and Stacey had to worry about seem like small potatoes.

When one of Emma's friends get sick and the CDC gets called in to investigate the contagion, the town gets put on quarantine. Unfortunately, the quarantine goes up at the same time that Michael goes out to get his wife from the airport, thus leaving Emma and Stacey alone in their home.

At first, things don't seem all that bad. Stacey's boyfriend, CJ (rapper Machine Gun Kelly) convinces the girls to go to a party at a house still being built and while there, Emma meets up with her crush from next door, Evan (Travis Tope, Boardwalk Empire). The two start to really hit it off, until the virus outbreak hits with full force, that is. Unfortunately, one of the group will end up infected and the movie takes a somewhat darker turn.

The rest of the film is all about the changes introduced by the disease as it takes over its host and tries to spread. Other pressures facing these high schoolers include the military and CDC's regular interventions as they are examined and, of course, the build up of some terrible choices that will have to be made.

Overall, Virus is a solid zombie-esque movie. It focuses on a fairly small cast and forces those characters to deal with many of the major obstacles you would expect in a zombie flick. It also spends a good bit of time in the early days of the outbreak dealing with the quarantine and the isolation that creates. While we don't see that in a lot of films from this genre, it did remind us a lot of Fear the Walking Dead: Season One.

Viral is worth watching if you are looking for different takes on zombie flicks. While the idea of a parasitic creature causing the zombie apocalypse might not be original, this movie does go in enough new directions to make it worth the time for a fan of the genre.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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