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VFW (2019)

If ever there was a film that encapsulated how to make the perfect 80s exploration B-movies in modern day then this is it. Feeling very at home as a Retro Splatter film along with line-ups such as Maniac Cop and Street Trash, add in some well seasoned actors from that era and you have a very enjoyable throwback action/horror. Aesthetically, the director uses a great combination of both blue and red lighting tones with a subtle touch of neon sprinkled throughout. As much as I like the feel that this provides, it does suffer from feeling quite dark in some key scenes and can be slightly distracting. Although, this never particularly impacted my experience but it was something I took note of. Complementing the tone of this film is one of the best electronic synth score I have heard. It’s really heavy and in your face and sits so well in the essence of this film. It very much feels like a zombie flick in premise and execution, the way they barricade themselves in and hold the fort is very reminiscent of majority of zombies films we have seen to-date. However instead of flesh seeking zombies, this film uses drug craving addicts. This provides a more realistic plot for the film but equally does lose more of the horror elements that we are so used to seeing from a plot like this. The cast lead by Stephen Lang as Fred do a more than a serviceable job for the standard of film that this is. The chemistry between him and Sierra McCormick's character Lizard being one of the stronger elements, taking on a protector role for her was very enjoyable to watch play out. I did have a small issue with what felt like underdeveloped characters, it was as though some were sidelined and could have been utilised better. The practical effects are a visual delight, certainly not holding back on the blood and the gore. The insistence on doing all of this practically makes all the difference to this film. Had it used CGI, in these scenes it would have taken away any sense of charm this film holds. Granted, some of them look better than other and some of them don't look very good at all. Being a homage to B-movies from that era, it's hard not to look at these moments and feel like it was not done intentionally. If you're a fan of trashy 80s B-movie action and horror films then you are certainly the target audience. I personally went in with low expectations and had a really good time with it. It’s certainly nothing groundbreaking but a fun ride nonetheless.



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