Virtual Reality (Realidad Virtual)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year Released: 2021
Runtime: 1h 25m
Director(s): Hernán Findling
Writer(s): Hernán Findling, Lourdes Prado Méndez
Cast: Vanesa González, Federico Bal, Christian Sancho, Guillermo Berthold, César Bordón, Santiago Magariños, Sofía Del Tuffo, Francisco González Gil, Tobías Findling Prado, Daniel Alvaredo
Where To Watch: available now to rent or buy on all major digital platforms.
RAVING REVIEW: Horror filmmaker Hernán Findling, the creative mind behind DIRECTOR'S CUT, BREAKING NIKKI, and IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES, delivers the innovative film VIRTUAL REALITY. The cast and crew are invited to his residence for an exclusive preview, only to be confronted with an eerie reality they never anticipated. In somewhat of a meta take, a horror film director's sinister pact to propel his career takes an unexpected turn as what happens in the film impacts the real world.
VIRTUAL REALITY asks its audience to suspend disbelief while the narrative delves into the potential hazards of the unknown in a way you won’t see coming. With solid performances, the actors create characters that seem real and have memorable touches. The film offers a unique twist "film within a film" concept. Initially appearing as an ordinary horror movie, we soon see that there’s far more than meets the eye. The storyline follows the cast and crew as they wrap up their latest indie venture and meet at the director's home to celebrate and watch the first cut.
Findling showcases his innovative directorial and screenwriting abilities in VIRTUAL REALITY, handling a large ensemble with finesse and expertise. Some aspects of the film just don’t work, and I think that’s partially due to the team taking too much of a surreal approach and mimicking their unique world that the general audience wouldn’t be familiar with.
While the premise is intriguing, it requires a rather extensive setup and detracts from the overall experience. It could have maintained a focused approach if the film had been edited differently. I would have liked to see more focus on some elements later in the film and less on the build-up.
Despite its flaws, VIRTUAL REALITY is still an entertaining genre film, although, unlike most horror films, it requires your full attention. Diehard horror buffs might find the movie a bit underwhelming, but general audiences will appreciate its unique approach. The plot has some roadblocks, but some twists and turns help the film dodge these pitfalls.
I haven’t seen a ton of Argentinian cinema, but hopefully, films like VIRTUAL REALITY will contribute to the industry's growth and evolution. While it may not be flawless, the movie is innovative and tries to do some things we don’t usually see in the genre.
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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]