Warner Bros. // 2010 // 81 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // October 31st, 2010
The Frog brothers are back for blood.
Cry little sister. Go ahead...I don't blame you.
During a mission to save a US congressman from vampires, Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander, The Lost Boys) is force fed vampire blood and turns into one of the undead. Five years later, his brother Edgar (Corey Feldman, The Goonies) is living a paranoid and isolated life in a single-wide when he is approached by mega-successful vampire-romance novelist Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix, Lord of War) with a job offer. It seems that a group of well-placed vampires is pushing a new drug called The Thirst at raves all over the world. The drug contains enough vampire blood to infect anyone who indulges. Lieber wants Frog to stop them. Edgar is reluctant to get involved until Lieber informs him that DJ X, the bloodsucker behind the scheme, is the alpha vampire. Killing the alpha will release Alan from his curse. Teamed with Zoe (Casey B. Dolan), a comic book store clerk who has a crush on him, and reality TV star Lars Von Goetz (Steven van Niekerk), Edgar sets out to kick some vampire ass, armed with holy water, wooden stakes, and garlic.
The Lost Boys is a classic of '80s genre fun despite its having been directed by Joel Schumacher (Batman and Robin) and its featuring a lengthy scene with Corey Haim singing in a bubble bath (neither of which is a usually a key indicator of awesomeness). The movie's mix of vampire sexiness, dangly earrings, feathered mullets, zipper-covered leather jackets, Wayfarer sunglasses, and the hit single "Cry Little Sister" by Gerard McMann and Michael Mainieri propelled it into major box office success in 1987, and left a lot of people who were teenagers at the time (such as myself) with a soft spot for it in their nostalgic hearts. The movie proved so popular, in fact, that rumors of a sequel persisted for years, finally fizzling when Schumacher became a joke, Keifer Sutherland moved on to a bigger and better career, Corey Feldman started dressing up like Michael Jackson, and Corey Haim succumbed to his addictions. When the straight-to-video follow-up Lost Boys: The Tribe was finally released in 2008, it was underwhelming to say the least -- less a sequel than a soulless remake that replaced Keifer Sutherland with his step-brother Angus as the main baddie, and relegated Coreys Feldman and Haim (one-time sellers of gazillions of issues of Tiger Beat) to embarrassingly minute roles. Still, based largely on people's fondness for the original, the title flew off of DVD and Blu-ray shelves in large enough quantities to warrant a third entry in the series. And so it is that we're subjected to Lost Boys: The Thirst, a flick that delivers on one of the failed promises of its predecessor: Loads of action involving Corey Feldman as an adult Edgar Frog, still battling hipster California vampires.
Lost Boys: The Thirst is so bad on so many levels that it's difficult to know where to begin. There's a reason that the Frog brothers were stone-faced second bananas to Corey Haim and Jason Patric in The Lost Boys: They're less characters than collections of horror and action movie clichés, good for lnecessary exposition and a few laughs, but little else. Putting them front and center just doesn't work (especially since Lost Boys: The Thirst adds another layer of comic relief in the form of a blowhard Steve Irwin clone who thinks vampires should be wrestled like crocodiles, all in the name of increased TV ratings). Did we really need to see a middle-aged, down on his luck, embittered Edgar Frog living as a vampire-fighting laughingstock in a trailer outside of town? No, we did not. Feldman flounders in the role, laboring to maintain and emote through what amounts to a poor imitation of Clint Eastwood's steely gaze combined with Christian Bale's gravelly Batman voice and John Rambo's red headband. It's profoundly uncomfortable to watch the performance because Feldman's been around for so long and has had such enormous career ups and downs that we want him to succeed. He looks deliriously amateurish throughout Lost Boys: The Thirst.
Feldman isn't aided one whit by the script, which is both clunky and persistent in its assumption that its audience is a collection of dolts. Characters have a tendency to repeat each other so that we don't miss key pieces of exposition. At one point, one of them delves into the philology and definition of the word "alpha" so that we're all clear that she's talking about the first vampire. The third act plot twist is obvious to anyone paying attention, and has the disadvantage of presenting us with a primary villain who is laughably twee. Worst of all, despite the fact that the movie is ostensibly about Edgar Frog's quest to save his brother Alan, Jamison Newlander is relegated to such a miniscule role in the movie that the stakes never feel particularly dire. The movie offers a decent action-horror set piece when a gang of vampires attack a trailer where Edgar and his gal pal Zoe are arming for their assault on the alpha, but it also delivers an ending so hokey that I'm still confused as to whether Edgar Frog is a Catholic priest or vampires are such wimpy members of the undead that they're vulnerable to anyone with a little water and the ability to speak Latin.
Also, the movie makes gratuitous use of "Cry Little Sister" not once, but twice. Because what would a Lost Boys movie be if we weren't hammered over the head by that slice of '80s music cheese?
Lost Boys: The Thirst is dished up on DVD in a solid 2.35:1 transfer, enhanced for widescreen display. Colors are accurate, black levels decent, and digital artifacts like haloing are only apparent to those looking for them. The transfer is serviceable if unspectacular. The Dolby 5.1 audio track is nothing special, but it does deliver clean dialogue, decent effects, and crisp music.
The only supplement is a 12-minute featurette called "Charisma Carpenter Hosts The Art of Seduction: Vampire Lore." It's the sort of fluffy, content-free production Fox, the WB, or the CW use to fill air on Halloween night when few are watching television.
Whatever its faults, Lost Boys: The Thirst has succeeded in making me pray that Hollywood never gets around to making a sequel to The Goonies.
Lost Boys: The Thirst is a significant improvement over Lost Boys: The Tribe, but that's saying exactly nothing. The movie is terrible. Don't let it sully your memories of The Lost Boys.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R