Blood Junky // 2008 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // August 7th, 2009
Red blood cells die all the time. They say you kill like billions of them every time you clap your hands.
Goth-obsessed Lara Baxter (Eilis Cahill) hates her life and hates her family, but hates her cheerleading twin sister Helen (Devon Bailey) most of all. On their sixteenth birthday, Lara concocts a potion design to kill her sister, but is shocked and horrified to find out that it works when Helen suddenly gets sick and dies. Or so she thinks, because Helen is not her sister after all, and is instead a vampire. She rises from the grave and comes home. Abomination though she is, family is family and the whole clan bands together to help her satisfy her blood lust.
Vampire Diaries: Thicker than Water is micro-budget horror at its best. Never taking itself seriously for a second, the cheapo vampire flick is more laughs than chills, focusing heavily on the quirky family and the extent they go to help Helen. The film features plenty of corn syrup, but is generally pretty tame, sacrificing over-the-top gore to keep the story together and make room for the gags, both visual and in the script, which work surprising well throughout. The dialog is purposefully ridiculous without regard to logic on any level as in, say, the hand-clapping comment spoken by the girls' older brother, who is supposed to be a biologist, though not a very good one, apparently. Eilis Cahill narrates the film with the smarmy, detached tone of your average teenager, which becomes funny when she's describing the extraordinary circumstances she deals with. The film seems to take a tragic turn when Helen dies. At this point, the characters go into mourning and it's a strange change from how the film starts. This is a setup, however, to make an even bigger impact when the horror starts and the events really start to get crazy.
With zero budget, director Phil Messerer makes the most of his effects to maximize the comedy. There's plenty of splatter, but all of it is directed toward the laughs. He uses music very well, placing songs at appropriately ironic times. These sentimental, saccharine strains are hilarious when paired with montages of mutilated bodies and tied up, screaming victims. Thicker than Water is good-natured, if bloody, horror that doesn't care how much sense it makes. On a strict entertainment level and on its budget scale, this one is pretty hard to beat.
Blood Junky's release of Thicker than Water is, appropriately, as cheap as the film itself. This version appears to be a screener, but because the film is only available through the website, it is difficult to say if there will be a superior version. If it is the retail release, however, it is barely adequate. There is plenty of blocking in the image and the colors are dark and washed out. On top of it, the picture is presented in a shrunk full frame that blocks all four sides in a square, which is somewhat odd. The stereo sound fares a little better, with dialog and music both clear, though there's nothing special about it. I really can't expect a whole lot more than this. If it is a screener, then no comment. The only extra on the disc is a trailer.
Surprisingly funny, The Vampire Diaries: Thicker than Water is a bloody good time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Blood Junky
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site