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VFW: An Excellent Action-Thriller That Brings the Violent Goods

February 14, 2020

When I first heard about the Joe Begos (Bliss, Almost Human) directed VFW in 2019, I knew I had to watch it. I was sold on the idea of Stephen Lang (Avatar, Don’t Breathe), William Sadler (Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight), Fred Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn), Martin Cove (The Karate Kid) and David Patrick Kelly (The Warriors) battling drug-addled “zombies” who storm their VFW to recover a backpack loaded with a drug called Hype. The movie didn’t disappoint, and I knew I loved it during the initial siege when various “Hypers” have their heads smooshed into oblivion (think a watermelon stuffed with lasagna and cherry syrup). VFW is a neon-drenched siege thriller that is refreshingly straight-forward and always entertaining.

The film takes place in a near-future that is overrun by drug addiction, poverty and violence. The drug “Hype” has turned users into “zombies” who are totally fine jumping off buildings (and exploding when they land) to get a fix. The drug trade is controlled by Boz (Travis Hammer), a leather-clad drug lord who is looking to keep up with the incredible demand (not a bad thing for a drug dealer). However, his latest shipment is stolen by a kid named Lizard (Sierra McCormick) and everything goes to a very bloody hell as he and his second-in-command Gutter (Dora Madison) send an army of “zombies” to recover the “face-liquefying” drugs inside a local VFW, which is filled with soldiers who are supposedly “good at dying.”

What follows is an excellent and refreshingly straight-forward siege thriller that features head-squishing violence, excellent cinematography by Mike Testin (the handheld camera work keeps you in the action), and a likable group of badass veterans beating people to death with baseball bats. Joe Begos follow up to Bliss (one of our favorite horror movies of 2019. Watch it on Shudder) is an excellent example of low-budget, big stakes film making that stretches it’s budget to the limit while never showing its limitations. It’s a legitimate throwback that looks grungy, feels grungy and is unapologetic about being grungy (this is a good thing). There is no gloss or shine, this is a dark and violent story of veterans engaging in one final war.

If you are looking for a straight-forward and ultra-violent siege thriller that has an excellent synth score, you will love VFW.

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