Gustavo Hernandez (director)
April 21, 2022 (published)
Opening with a wondrous long shot that introduces the viewer to the neighborhood and what’s to come, we settle on Tata (Pilar Garcia) and her mother Iris (Paula Silva), the former having just been dropped off at a moment’s notice by father Javi (Franco Rilla) as she leaves for work. Not having much of an option, Iris takes Tata with her, sneaking her into the sprawling Neptune Club where she is a security guard. With a background of unrest in the city and TV reports of incidents, Iris starts her shift by letting Tata play.
The lights go out and Tata disappears and with the walkie-talkie’s battery nearly depleted, worry begins to set in. Using her access to the building’s CCTV Iris, the search for the building is done just as the zombies begin to make their way into the club.
A chance encounter between a zombie and an unfortunate cat and Iris notices that after a kill, the zombie is docile for 32 seconds. A terrific, high-tension chase around a locker room and Iris encounters Luis (Daniel Hendler) whose wife Mimi (Sofía González) is a zombie – strapped to a wheelchair and ready to give birth – is chomping at the bit. Luis isn’t quite the good guy he first appears when trading Iris’s help for information on Tata’s whereabouts. Iris has no choice but to help Luis.
Virus 32 is truly not a sum of its parts with brilliant scenes and sequences with highly imaginative camerawork. The 32 second pause after the kill is an odd pause which, as far as my Spanish and reading is concerned, is not properly explained in the film, although as a dramatic tool it increases the tension . As such, it doesn’t quite work as a smooth movie plus several very good scenes that are joined by an interlude. It shocks a little but not enough to really bother the viewer.
Uruguayan director Gustavo Hernández (co-written with Juma Fodde) has an eye for a shot that fully exploits the potential of the handheld camera, complete with great music and sound design. On the kill front, the zombies are nothing out of the ordinary to not deviate much from the norm. Nonetheless, Virus 32 keeps the South American horror express on track as it tries to do something different in a much-worn genre.
Virus:32 is available exclusively on Shudder now.