What is Virus :32 about?
Virus :32 is a Spanish language film that follows Iris (Paula Silva), a security guard who works at a large, seemingly abandoned sports club. Today she brought along her daughter to join her at the sports club, since she can’t seem to get a sitter or anything, so the two of them plan on having a nice day hanging around the large sports club which seemingly has a lot for them to do like basketball, swimming and hiding in the creepy abandoned rooms of the building
However, unbeknownst to them, outside the club, a virus has started spreading rapidly through the population and turned those infected into intelligent, ultra-violent, extra-fast hunters who only want to cause brutal death to anyone they come past. Once one of these infected people kills something though, they remain still for 32 seconds before restarting their attack. Slowly these infected people will begin to swarm the sports club, and Iris will have to use all her wits to protect her child.
Virus :32 Review
From the moment that Virus :32 starts, it’s building tension with the intent of overwhelming the audience with pure discomfort. Just starting from the glorious 10-minute long opening shot, a single take that introduces the main players while giving a glimpse of the horror that’s yet to come, there’s already something off about this world that’s not made explicit right away but you can’t help but feel it and it’s chilling. There’s a slow unease that builds and builds until Virus :32 finally puts our main character in the same room as one of its infected people and then the unease turns to pure horror and it never lets up.
At a brisk 90 minutes, Virus :32 is making sure to use every second to the best of its ability by throwing in everything it can. If it’s not scaring you, it’s emotionally destroying you and when it’s done with that, it’ll be fine to go with pure disgust if that gets you in the mental space this film wants you in.
It wants to horrify and damn it, for the most part, it does that spectacularly. Largely by spending the first act just devoted to setting up the core relationship between Iris and her daughter, then splitting them up for most of the film so you’re always going to worry if Iris might just stumble upon a zombie doing horrible things to her child.
And yes, even though the description of the film calls them ‘hunters’ and there is no actual flesh eating going on, it’s clear that these are zombies or at very least zombie-adjacent enough that you’re better off thinking of them as zombies when going in.
The zombies of Virus :32 are some of the scariest out there, relentlessly violent and determined to a point where it seems like absolutely nothing will get between them and whatever they want to kill. There’s maybe one possible way to get away from them and that only seems to slow them down without actually stopping them, these things are relentless and terrifying.
The Virus :32 zombies similar to the zombies from the 28 Days Later franchise, except these zombies aren’t completely mindless. They plan, they can use tools, they can think things through and in one case you could swear that they even have emotional connections to the living which makes the horrific violence they do so much more shocking. They don’t even really discriminate between humans and animals, indeed a warning for those who consider ‘animal death’ as a total dealbreaker it would be remiss of me to not point out that possibly the most horrific moment in the first act involves a zombie and a cat.
While the Virus :32 revels in horrifying the audience, it also is blessed with a pretty great cast… in particular, the leading actress Paula Silva who almost has to do a one-woman show for the entire runtime and have you feeling the same terror she feels, which she does because she’s just that damn good. There are more than a few moments where she has the audience holding their breath in pure fear because of how she’s reacting to her terrifying surroundings before she’ll have everyone sobbing along with her. It’s the kind of performance that carries a film and could bring it to a glorious climax… and that’s where the film trips.
Without revealing any specifics, the ending of Virus :32 feels like a copout. It’s the kind of ending that sets up something bold and shocking that could emotionally devastate an audience in a way that would be thematically relevant to the rest of the story and then pulls back at the last second and removes the power of the final few moments. It’s the kind of ending that could potentially just ruin the opinion of the previous hour and a half of the film, that’s how bad the ending is. Everything before that final scene is absolutely brilliant, but oh god that final scene might actually ruin the film.
Virus :32 Overall
Without the horrifically bad ending, Virus :32 is a brutally shocking film, carried by a great central performance that takes you along the assorted twists and turns that make for a fascinating viewing experience. It’s a visual treat with some absolutely fascinating shot choices that enhance the story as much as possible.
Sure the ending lands with a thud so loud it could end up attracting a horde of zombies, but other than that one massive mistake the rest of the film is worth seeing… at least it’s worth seeing before some American company inevitably remakes it in a way that somehow completely misses the mark.
What did you think of Virus :32?
Did this horror movie infect you with its scares?
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