Monday, July 25, 2022

Dawn of the 32 Seconds Later

The day might come when I don't greet the discovery of a new zombie siege with glee.

But it is not this day.

Quick Plot: On the rougher side of Montevido, young mother Iris is heading to work as a security guard (of sorts?) at an empty fitness center. Her ex surprises her by dropping off their child Tata, who's in for quite a take-your-daughter-to work day.

As is so often the case these days, there's a pandemic on the loose. This one attacks like your standard 28 Days Later rage virus, with one (occasional) twist: after any surge of activity, the carrier is left immobile for the titular 32 seconds. Once that time passes, it's back to your usual biting fury.

Most of the time.

See, science fiction and horror stories need rules. It's what keeps us holding our breath when teenagers can't shake off sleep on Elm Street or screaming "THE HEAD" when a character is firing rounds into the stomach of the undead. Virus 32 seems to make a big deal of its timer gimmick, but that doesn't do much when it's not used consistently. 
If that was Virus 32's biggest issue, I'd still be satisfied. Unfortunately, director/cowriter Gustavo Hernandez (of the original Silent House) is apparently as big a zombie fan as the audience, and works incredibly hard to celebrate some recent hits. The score owes 28 Days Later John Murphy residuals, while both the opening panning shot and pregnancy storyline are ripped straight out Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. 

Horror is often referential, but when the movie seems to deliberately want you to think about films that did this exact thing better, it's...well...odd. 

High Points
A good zombie flick requires a human anchor, and as Iris, Paula Silva makes for a wonderfully genuine mess of a lead

Low Points
Did I mention the movies that do this same thing better? Because the movie itself did...

Lessons Learned
The concept of time can vary from rage zombie to rage zombie

32 seconds is best defined as the time needed to move one plot point around efficiently

It's rude to mistake rum for beer

Virus 32 is a perfectly passable spin on your standard action zombie flick. It doesn't come close to the movies it actively models itself on, but you could do worse with 90 minutes of your life. Find it on Shudder when that very particular mood strikes. 

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