Review: V-Wars (2019)

Finally, vampires are back!

V-Wars is a Netflix original series that debuted in November of this year. It has 9 episodes total and follows a the challenged faced by two friends, Dr. Luther Swann (Ian Somerhalder) and Michael Fayne (Adrian Holmes) as they face the challenges of modern society’s panic in the face of vampirism. We can all agree that vampires are a bit tired, but V-Wars brings the sensibilities of The Walking Dead to the idea of vampirism spreading across the globe as a communicable disease.

If you enjoy tense drama with a vampiric flair, this is a good choice for holiday binging. However, it’s not as a high on the horror scale as The Walking Dead. While both have the underlying message that humans are the true monsters, V-Wars feels tamer by comparison owing to the weak vampire CGI effects. This may not bother everyone, but as a fan of practical effects and makeup, it felt jarring at times.

Compelling character and amazing acting, but those teeth effects are so distracting.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

V-Wars opens with Dr. Swann at a climate summit presenting his research on the link between dwindling ice caps and the potentially deadly organisms dormant for millennia. Immediately after, he’s summoned to his research base in the Arctic: apparently, the scientists stationed there have been incommunicado for too long. Just before they went radio silent, they reported that they’d found something extraordinary.

Understandably concerned, Dr. Swann calls on his brother in all but blood Fayne, and the pair make for the base. Unfortunately, the discovery was a biomass, and the scientists are nowhere to be found. This leaves Swann and Fayne exposed to the contaminant. The pair are tested in quarantine then, miraculously, released. However, all isn’t well. Apparently, Fayne has a genetic component that makes him susceptible to the vampirism, arising in this universe as an organism likened to Mad Cow Disease that targets the host  and alters their physiology. Dr Swann doesn’t have this gene, making him immune. What follows is the divergence of two friends down wildly different paths, one struggling to make sense of and adapt to his vampirism and the other harassed by the US government for a cure. Hunted at every turn, both men struggle to understand their roles amidst the worst of humanity and a crumbling social structure.

There are plenty of great choices, such as the addictive component in the vampire bite, the government agencies battling out which will handle the situation most effectively, and the rise of a vampiric system of law and self-governance. The acting is fantastic, and it’s refreshing to see vampires taken seriously again in the wake of Twilight. Honestly, I’m excited that they’ve already announced season 2 — it gives the filmmakers a bigger budget for those vampire effects. If V-Wars makes vampires en vogue again, it’s worth overlooking a few weak points. Give it a watch.

My rating: 4/5

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