MOH Review: EP 2.3: Ernest Dickerson’s ‘The V Word’

Inside we’ve posted our third review from this year’s Masters of Horror: Season 2 (all reviews), which airs every Friday on Showtime. Inside you’ll find Tex Massacre’s review of “The V Word”, which was directed by Ernest Dickerson and written by Mick Garris. The vampire film reveals the punishment visited upon two teenage boys who make the very poor decision to break into a mortuary. Michael Ironside stars.

The V Word (MoH 2.3)
Reviewed By: Tex Massacre
5/10 or 2 1/2 Skulls

Do you want to see a dead body

Leave it to Masters of Horror creator Mick Garris to wink his trained eye to Stephen King–a man whose life’s work has given existence to Garris’ own career. In this latest episode of the Showtime original series, Director Ernest Dickerson (TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON NIGHT) takes on Garris’ original story, THE V WORD.

The V in question is for Vampire. The Undead. Bloodsuckers. Children of the Night–what beautiful music they make. Dickerson and Garris’ film collaboration is littered with these kind of grand phrases–the goal– to take the viewer directly into a pop culture vortex. By opening the film with a pair of friends (Arjay Smith and Branden Nadon) busting each other balls and rocking the X-box 360, we are supposed to get a feel for youth culture, inundated with violence and peppered with am “in-crowd” language derived of outtakes from Entertainment Tonight. Garris is trying too hard here.

Once the back-and-forth has passed on, Nadon decides that he and Smith should head down to the local morgue and get a closer look at the recently deceased body of a local bully. They surmise that–best bet–it’ll make them appreciate their own pathetic lives a bit more next time the shit hits the fan. Well, they got one thing right, when this night is over they’ll appreciate life all right–they’ll appreciate it with a voracious appetite.

Like I said before, the V is for Vampire and these two boys are about to have a run in with just that very creature (Michael Ironside). This is the part of the episode that Dickerson does so well, you can very nearly taste the blood on the screen. Unfortunately, this is also the proverbial climax of the story, and it’s only 30 minutes in. What comes next feels like a second rate version of GINGER SNAPS IV: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, as Nadon discovers how to deal with his newfound lust for a banquet of blood. It’s also at this stage where Ironside and Smith become virtually useless and the whole film veers from taunt suspense to tiresome melodrama.

THE V WORD had a lot going for it, and with the exception of some seriously forced dialogue in the first 6 or 7 minutes, Dickerson had a nearly flawless film going for him–hammering the suspense at every interval. But a sudden twist wiped the whole slate clean and sent the last half of the film to the bottom of the proverbial barrel. With some glaring plot holes arriving just past the half way point and no cliché left unturned, the final 30 minutes virtually sink what once promised to be a brilliant episode of MoH.

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