“Today is not a day to be scared of madness.”
Virus-32, an exciting, new entry to the crowded field of zombie movies, has arrived from South America and is currently streaming on Shudder. In this Uruguayan movie, the zombies become catatonic for 32 seconds after a killing, allowing the survivors a brief window to escape. Director/co-writer Gustavo Hernández deploys considerable skill to tell a story of two fractured families fighting to stay alive and together inside a cavernous, dark health club.
Reluctant mother, Iris (Paula Silva), is forced to take her daughter to her job as a night watch person in a large health spa. In Montevideo, the city outside the club, a viral outbreak is turning the citizens of the city into fast, blood thirsty zombies. Unable to keep them out of the club, she and her daughter must hide. The small family meets Luis (Daniel Hendler) and Miriam (Sofia Gonzalez), his infected and pregnant wife who is about to give birth.
The thrills and action come at a pace guaranteed to keep the viewer’s attention. Gustavo Hernández’s earlier film La casa muda (2010), is a ghost story filmed in a single, continuous take. Likewise, Virus-32 makes good use of long takes throughout its run time (the first 10 minutes is one shot that perfectly sets up the action for the rest of the movie.) Hernández uses the camera effectively as a story-telling tool. Instead of relying on jump scares, the camera floats around its subjects, revealing hidden threats before the characters even know they are in danger. This taking time to let suspense build combined with the atmospheric settling of the club creates an unsettling experience for the viewer.
The performances are exceptional, especially Paula Silva as Iris. Silva adds great depth to a character who begins the movie as a tortured soul, unsure of her ability to be a parent under the best of times. Ever the course of the action, she finds herself becoming the parent she needs to be, willing to sacrifice anything to save her daughter. Near the end of the movie, Iris and her daughter take a nerve-wracking walk through a crowded hallway of comatose zombies to escape.
With a great story, fluid camera work and excellent performances, Virus-32 comes with one caveat: Viewers that have issues with animal violence may want to check out Does the Dog Die? to learn more. If you are still interested, nevertheless, don’t hesitate to preview the trailer:
Overall, Virus-32 is a thrilling and violent run through a dark and foreboding place. Gustavo Hernández’s stylistic and fluid camera work increases the intensity of the experience. Although the titular device, a 32 second respite, could have become contrived and overused, he carefully avoids this to tell a decent story with plenty of moments of gripping horror and above average visual panache.
Virus-32 is currently streaming on Shudder – don’t hesitate to avail our promo for two weeks free!
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I am a lifelong lover of horror who delights in the uncanny and occasionally writes about it. My writing has appeared at DIS/MEMBER and in Grim magazine. I am also in charge of programming at WIWLN’s Insomniac Theater, the Internet’s oldest horror movie blog written by me. The best time to reach me is before dawn.