Case Number 12801: Small Claims Court


Starz Home Entertainment // 2006 // 58 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // January 23rd, 2008

The Charge

"Hear that, huh? Hear the night calling you? Oh my little man, why don't you just accept what you're becoming?"

The Case

Two friends, Arjay Smith and Brandon Naword, who love to play video games decide they're going to go see a real dead body. Their late-night excursion to the funeral home unleashes Michael Ironside and people start to die. Soon, one friend must make the choice to either become an evil bloodsucking force for Satan or not in Masters of Horror: The V Word.

For those who don't know what Masters of Horror is, here's the summary, quick and dirty. Experienced directors and writers in the genre, that is to say, masters of horror, take a low-budget whack at a horror flick. John Carpenter, Dario Argento, and John Landis have all contributed to the series among many others. Now it's Ernest Dickerson's (Demon Night) turn at bat.

The V Word has a kind of newish take on vampires that would have been interesting to see in a better-made movie. Rather than the usual dapper vampire who neatly punctures his victims and takes a sip, we have Michael Ironside tearing out people's throats.

This grotesquery of a vampire film is a nice change from Tom Cruise dressing like a 18th century dandy, but the only thing The V Word has going for it is a poorly dressed Michael Ironsides. Everything else is just a painful exercise in horror movie clichés.

The whole "reluctant vampire" plotline has been done before and adding several hundred references to Doom doesn't make it new and hip. I'm not sure if Ernest Dickerson was attempting some sort of social commentary by mentioning Doom, but if he was, I'm not really getting his point. People who play video games are potentially more likely to get eaten by the undead? The whole video game thread is clumsily injected into the proceedings and feels tacked on.

In any event, unoriginal stories and reused plot devices can be forgiven if a horror movie succeeds at its primary goal; to provoke horror in the audience member. That didn't happen so much here. The plot meanders, fizzles, and then fades. The friends wander into a funeral home and are scared by spooky organ music and blood smears until they're attacked by the villain, who then promptly disappears for a majority of the movie. Bizarre POV shots do little except show that vampires have pretty crappy vision.

There are several features that are standard fare for most of the Masters of Horror discs. There are a few making-of documentaries that are informative about the effects used. There's a commentary by the director and the screenwriter, which fluctuates in how entertaining it is, but does add a fair amount of insight into what made The V Word what it is.

Masters of Horror: The V Word tries to add some new flavor into the vampire genre, but fails to provide any real scares.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 69

Perp Profile
Studio: Starz Home Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* None

Running Time: 58 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* "Feeding Frenzy: The Making of The V Word"
* "Bite Me: Tearing up the FX Shot!"
* Audio Commentary with Director Earnest Dickerson and Writer/Executive Producer Mick Garris
* Photo Gallery
* Screenplay (DVD-ROM)

* IMDb