Thursday, July 07, 2022

V for Vengeance – review

Director: Kelly Halihan

Release date: 2022

Contains spoilers

Appearing on VOD, V for Vengeance isn’t great but nor is it absolutely terrible. It is a film that should have had more attention paid to its plot, there are elements that make little sense under scrutiny. It also struggled with the action sequences, a shame given it is an action film rather than a horror.

It starts with a voice over and then a trunk opens in a muscle car and a woman, Emma (Jocelyn Hudon, Lost Girl & the Strain), gets out and changes clothes on the country road.

from the trunk

Now Emma is one of our vampires and you’d be forgiven for thinking that she hid from the sun, but apparently she likes sleeping in the trunk as sunlight does not appear to be an issue to these vampires. Anyway, she pops the hood of the car (to fake a breakdown) and hitches a ride. The ‘good Samaritan’ is a horny redneck (and worse than horny we discover later) who demands sex and isn’t going to take no for an answer. Emma super-speeds out of his way and then attacks him when he gets out of the truck. He manages to get back in, bitten but alive, but she is by him and takes his throat out.

attack in the vehicle

Emma is a good vampire, it appears, attacking only the wicked. She gets a motel room for a couple of days and, when she showers the blood off – noted by the clerk but not acted upon despite her being soaked in it – she flashes back to the attack. Even when the victim is bad she has guilt over the kill it seems, but the film does nothing with this really. After a night’s sleep she goes out to catch dinner. This time the ‘good Samaritan’ actually seems to be one. Frank (Michael P. Northey) doesn’t seem sexually interested in her and is a family man – Emma vanishes from the car as it moves. What she doesn’t know is that Frank is a senior in Federal Vampire Control – that will bring him back in but his story impact is minimal.

sisters at war

The next lift she flags down is equally as unhelpful for feeding purposes as it is her sister Scarlet (Grace Van Dien). They’d had a falling out some time before and so Emma walks away, and Scarlet shoots her in the shoulder to get her attention (not silver bullets, though, so not a deadly shot). They fight until Scarlet tells her that their sister Kate (Pauline Dyer) is alive. All three girls were adopted but their mum (Julie Lynn Mortensen, Van Helsing) managed to hide Kate as the family home was attacked by vampires. Emma and Scarlet were taken to the vampire Thorn (Sean Maguire) and they assumed Kate was killed, but she was rescued and brought up by vampire hunter Bullseye (Graham Greene, The Twilight Saga: New Moon).

Sean Maguire as Thorn

The reason? The girls all have a very rare blood type (V-type) and her parents were using it to produce a vampire vaccine – something Kate has now completed. How the captured girls were subsequently turned is one of the unexplored plot points that proves problematic. They were taken as children, so when were they turned? If turned as children then do vampires continue to grow to adulthood or did Thorn wait? We see later that V-type blood is like crack to vampires and so did he farm them as kids – and if so why don’t they suspect his bad intent (it's not a surprise to anyone bar the characters that he ordered the hit on the parents). If he did farm them, why turn them rather than keep them human and imprisoned to farm them as adults?

Pauline Dyer as Kate

Likewise, when Emma randomly meets a bloke called Marcus (Christopher Russell, Van Helsing & Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), credibility is stretched when they jump into bed, then stretched further when he spots that she has no reflection and doesn’t freak. Emma’s reaction is fairly naïve, credulous even, when she hears that he also slept with Scarlet before they met and then no-one bats an eyelid when he can talk about the biochemistry of the cure with Kate. There were so many red flags about the character that his turning on them isn’t a spoiler to anyone bar the characters and when we discover that he is a vampire himself, and both scarlet and Emma missed that one, it is a moment to groan. Likewise Thorn living openly in a big house in the States, being most wanted by the Federal Vampire Control, and yet they never raided him and took him down, seems unlikely

vampire dying

As for lore, I have mentioned the super-speed, there is an assumption of strength but it doesn’t always seem that strong, sunlight isn’t an issue but silver is and a stake through the heart mostly works (there is one exception). There is a stake carved from the type of tree used to make Christ’s crucifix that doesn’t seem more or less effective than any other. On death they kind of burn up. The acting is passable, the action is not the best, the plot develops in naïve arcs and broadcasts its punches completely and yet it was competently shot and not a chore to watch. Certainly not the greatest film and you really can’t afford to think about the plot too hard but certainly not the worst out there. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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