American Virus

You know how it goes. You’re home watching your favorite TV show and then suddenly some clandestine evil organization interrupts your television show with apocalyptic propaganda in order to create panic and unrest in the streets.

Today, things are different. Instead of a clandestine terrorist organization, it’s a bunch of drugged-out hooligans with a cell phone live stream and access to Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. But the terrifying message is always the same.

“…to warn the citizens that they unleashed the zombie outbreak now spreading throughout Los Angeles.”

American Virus from filmmakers Shane Ryan and Kathryn Eastwood is one such video. Our little gang played by Ryan, Eastwood, and Tommie Vegas, use their cellphones interspliced with stock footage to warn the citizens that they unleashed the zombie outbreak now spreading throughout Los Angeles.

The gang’s propaganda video soon turns morphs into a found footage video of the gang’s demise. I would guess that for Ryan and Eastwood the overall story is secondary. Which is fine, if they could back it up with compelling images. The short goes on for about five minutes and just almost works.

“…no one in their right mind would stick around a violent attack in order to get good close-up shots.”

If American Virus is a part of a series of horror shorts, then the filmmakers are right on track to nail down a good short film. There are only a few flows in this piece that holds them back. The quick cuts in the opening montage are not quick enough to effectively blend the stock and real footage of the piece. The edit dwells too long on the film’s actors, which shows they just walking through the L.A. Metro tunnels without any danger. That said, they did a good job with the video effects during the montage.

During the “monster” portion, the segment is supposed to be shot live with cellphones, but no one in their right mind would stick around a violent attack in order to get good close-up shots. I’d be running. The sound effects are a little to low budget as well.

American Virus is a passable short with future potential for the filmmakers. Watch it, if you want to encourage emerging talent.

American Virus (2015) Directed by Shane Ryan. Written by Kathryn Eastwood and Shane Ryan. Starring Adrian Baez, Kathryn Eastwood, Chad Meisenheimer, Shane Ryan, and Tommie Vegas.

3 out of 5 stars

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