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VFW

By Chuck Foster | November 11, 2019

Joe Begos upped the bar for horror earlier this year with his psychedelic vampire masterpiece Bliss. He does it again with VFW, an action-packed love letter to John Carpenter.

In an alternate reality, a group of Vietnam veterans drink in their local VFW hall, a refuge against their drug-addled, poverty-stricken neighborhood. They’re reminiscing about their war days and guzzling alcohol into oblivion when a young soldier just home from the Middle East enters. They welcome him into their drinking group and continue their little party, but a young woman called Lizard rushes into the bar in an attempt to escape from a vicious gang of drug lords out for revenge. When gang members brutally invade the VFW hall in their hunt for Lizard, the veterans take up arms against them, not only to protect the mysterious female, but also to guard their beloved refuge.

“…the veterans take up arms against them, not only to protect the mysterious female, but also to guard their beloved refuge.”

What seems like an incredibly simple plot really is just that – simple – which is the subtle beauty behind VFW. Without a quagmire of convoluted twists to navigate, we get to truly understand and relate to these characters. We may not be them, but we sure as hell know them. They’re family members, friends of your parents, acquaintances in the local watering hole. They sacrificed themselves for us and, while we may disagree about the politics behind that sacrifice, there is no doubt that they would drop everything and have our backs when things get tough. Sadly, there aren’t too many left and they’re quickly being replaced by privileged “woke” millennials whose concept of struggle is hashtagging on Twitter.

VFW (2019)

Directed: Joe Begos

Written: Max Brallier, Matthew McArdle

Starring: Stephen Lang, Fred Williamson, Martin Kove, George Wendt, David Patrick Kelly, William Sadler, Tom Williamson, Sierra McCormick, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

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"…an action-packed love letter to John Carpenter."

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