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  Virus: 32 Montevideo Maniacs
Year: 2022
Director: Gustavo Hernandez
Stars: Paula Silva, Daniel Hendler, Franco Rilla, Sofia Gonzalez, Rasjid Cesar, Anaisy Brunet, Tiziano Nunez, Juan Fodde, Virginia Mendez, Gustavo Alonzo
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Iris (Paula Silva) is a security guard at this Montevideo gym, though she appears to have chosen this profession because it involves the minimum of effort and the maximum of time to get tipsy and/or high. She has a daughter, Tata, and her husband has arrived this evening to drop off the little girl so her mother can take care of her for a while, but Iris forgot to take time off and decides just to take her along with her to hang around amusing herself until the shift is complete. But the ever-preoccupied Iris doesn't notice there are people acting very strangely around the city tonight, quite crazed...

People who are chasing others with the intent of inflicting violence on them - there's a unique and deadly virus being spread. OK, it's not that unique, if you have seen 28 Days Later... you will be well aware of how this is going down, it was zombie outbreak time again, variant B where they're not really zombies, but "infected" who to be fair do have their own little quirks to set this slightly apart from what had gone before, so many times. The film was noticeably underpopulated until almost the final ten minutes, perhaps betraying the low budget director and writer Gustavo Hernandez was working with, but it did lend the proceedings its own atmosphere which was quite eerie in places, and tense in others.

Really the film's chief enemy was its overfamiliarity, and that could have caused it to be dismissed by those who felt they had seen it all before, which would be a shame. Hernandez was highly stylish with what he chose to shoot, such as a chase through an empty, Olympic-sized swimming pool that has been filled with smoke from canisters to obscure the heroes from the gaze of the violent infected. Iris was our protagonist, and therefore after her bad behaviour, or thoughtless behaviour at least, of the beginning, was pressed to learn a lesson about responsibility, specifically responsibility for her daughter, who she treats as a kind of equal since Iris gives the impression of never having grown up sufficiently.

Sometimes movies revolving around teaching their lead characters responsibility for their actions can be tiresome and preachy, but Virus: 32 provided a shade more substance by giving her a past she is wilfully ignoring and must face up to as she has a child she needs to rescue and bring to safety. Throwing a spanner in the works was that Iris has left Tata on a basketball court to fend for herself - well, she wasn't to know there was an outbreak of mania going on, she doesn't listen to the news, not even when it's playing on a radio in the same room as she is. Therefore, mother and daughter are separated for quite a bit of the story as Iris tries to track her down, the girl having run off to hide from the ravening lunatics who occasionally crop up (with increasing regularity, to be fair).

But there are even more complications than that as Luis (Daniel Hendler) has a pregnant wife about to give birth and he wants assistance with that, working out that Iris, as a mother, has been through the experience and will know what to do. So he does what anyone would, he takes Tata hostage and forces her mother to help him that way. The implication being, even the most dire of circumstances can give rise to extreme behaviour - you don't have to be infected with a mystery disease to fall prey to that form of thinking. Oh, and the 32 in the title comes from the thirty-two seconds it takes for an infected to regroup their thoughts (assuming they have many) after an attack they have carried out. We have been here before, as mentioned, but this was better than some, and the Uruguayan setting and production served to give it a distinctive tone it might not otherwise have entertained. Music by Hernan Gonzalez.

[Virus 32 - A Shudder Original
New Film Premieres 21st April 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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