The world within the story is similar to ours — suffering from a global pandemic. The Film Production Coalition presents Viral, the story of a girl who ignores the world around her and puts all her effort into her YouTube channel.
*Note: Spoilers ahead.
Throughout the film, Kate (Kate Davey) desperately tries keeping her status as an influential YouTuber; however, her follower and view count crumble, mirroring the world around her.
Kate constantly reassures both her friend, Abigail (Starr Yvonne Soon), and her mother that she is doing well and that the pandemic will be over in no time. The longer they quarantine, the quicker things will go back to normal. Sound familiar?
As the story progresses, it’s hard to not be frustrated at Kate’s behavior. She is ignorant and completely oblivious to how bad the circumstances are. Kate brushes over the pandemic, refusing to face the truth. As her friend Abby gets sick, and her father tragically passes away, Kate is more focused on her YouTube career. She doesn’t make an effort to reach out to her mom, nor does she check in with Abby as she battles the virus. Rather than call her father as he is lying on his death bed, Kate decides to put on her influencer persona for views. While citizens around the globe are working towards understanding the virus and how to stop the spread, Kate overlooks it entirely.
Living alone during a pandemic is hard. It’s scary, and it’s lonely. Many people would have packed up their things and moved back in with their family so they could quarantine together. Even though Abby and her mother are worried about her, Kate decides to stand her ground and stay by herself. That doesn’t turn out so well since she practically isolates herself from everyone towards the end.
One could empathize with Kate, though, because everything in her life goes bad at the same time. It was a huge wake-up call for her, which is exactly what she needed. Kate’s mental health drastically depletes, and she is not in a good place. She doesn’t know what to do, or how to accept that this pandemic is serious. In the end, she does what she does best — posts a YouTube video, detailing her error in disregarding the world.
This film is great for diversity in that its stars and director are members of underrepresented groups. The director, Iseult Lyons, is a woman. I commend her because I know how many women directors are shut out or turned away. The two main characters are also women, one of which is Asian. Their performances were strong and expressed the emotion and depth behind the story. It is refreshing to see two women lead the film since it rarely occurs.
This is such a relevant story, especially now. I was shocked, fearful, angry, and sad throughout my viewing. Living during a widespread pandemic is scary, and it’s real. To get through it, we need to stick together and come to terms with it. Don’t be ignorant, and don’t be selfish. Check-in with those you love as often as you can. Before it’s too late.
Find the film here!