You know what Judge David Johnson thirsts for? Yoohoo!
What would you do to live forever?
Real quick, here is what I learned from this, the 563,456th vampire movie I've reviewed for the site: Don't become a vampire if you don't like being sticky all the time.
Facts of the Case
A couple recovering from drug and alcohol abuse are drawn into a roving band of assorted vampires, seduced by the perks of everlasting life. Their saga is a catalyzed by Lisa (Clare Kramer), who discovers she is dying from terminal cancer. One night, she's visited by a woman with an offer of escape, and all she has to do is slurp down her blood. Naturally, she accepts and becomes a premiere member of the hippest vampire club this side of Santa Carla, led by flamboyant Eurotrash Darius (Jeremy Sisto, Population 436).
Lisa's former beau, Max (Matt Keeslar) is surprised to see his ex-girlfriend, whose funeral he had just attended, walking around in a dance club, blonde and healthy. Eager to reunite with his former flame, Max stumbles into Darius's cabal, allows himself to be turned into a vampire and succumbs to the ravenous thirst for human blood. But Max and Lisa soon realize that devouring children's heads may not be all it's cracked up to be.
Wow, was there a lot of fluid in this movie. The Thirst holds the (dubious?) distinction of being the wettest horror movie I've ever seen. The gore effects crew has redefined the standard for spouting throat wounds and the actors must have received some kind of dry cleaning clause in their contract. The majority of the violence is relegated to neck-chomping. The vampires rip into their victims gullets, spit out flesh and then the waterworks begin, as the blood spews out in torrents, soaking all actors within a 20-foot range. And I'll admit that this over-the-top bloodshed gave what ultimately was a fairly uneventful vampire outing a nice kick in the pants. Is all the flowing sanguine enough to earn The Thirst a recommendation? Maybe, if unabashed gore is your thing.
The plot behind The Thirst is textbook vampire storytelling. Under the auspices of a charismatic leader, a bunch of vamps rampage around, sucking down A-positive and making out with each other. You can expect lots of that—murders and T&A and so forth—but little else of note. The vampires' big plan is to hang around a Christian camp and wait for the kids to come so they can feast. It's a pretty horrible goal, I guess, and when Lisa and Max saddle up to fight against their fanged brethren it's to prevent the massacre—which is a good thing, yeah—but I never felt a looming sense of dread to give the heroes that emotional investment. Mainly, I just wanted to see how they'd smoke the vampires, and, thankfully, the above-average gore does not disappoint; you'll get extreme sun-burning and impalements and, thanks to the convenient presence of a hemophiliac, wholesale blood clotting failure, all of which are executed very well.
As far as adding anything new to the mythology, aside from a few tweaks (crucifixes have no power, the vampires look like regular people), there's nothing new. I did, however, find the rave-like, hard-partying atmosphere that permeates the scenes whenever Darius and his cronies grab screen time interesting. These dudes torture the elderly with nail guns man! They're hardcore!
Speaking of Darius, Sisto, who I usually like, delivers a performance that's as bombastic as the gore-soaked effects and over-produced settings (wait until you see the night club set, with your guide, Tom Lenk of Buffy fame parading around on a leash). Sisto never quite gains control of that accent, though. Adam Baldwin turns in a spirited, blood-lusting white trash vampire character and there are a couple of big-breasted Asian sisters that drink blood topless. Our protagonists are the least compelling, mainly because they're so dim-witted. They come through in the clutch, sure, but Lisa is surprised by the fact that vampires are actually—gasp!—blood-drunk murderers and Max is so whipped he converts to the undead just so he can hang around his ex.
The video quality (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen) is fine, but director Jeremy Kasten chooses some wild color palettes that prove distracting. For the audio, the 5.1 surround mix is effective, pushing composer Joe Kraemer's kinetic score. Extras: a surprisingly self-critical commentary by writer/producer Mark Altman and Kraemer, a handful of boring deleted scenes, the script on DVD-ROM and a still gallery.
There's probably a metaphor for drug addiction amidst all the blood, but take The Thirst for what it is: an average vampire flick featuring killer gore effects, dopey characters and more breasts than your local KFC.
The accused is sentenced to five months forced labor with a dry cleaner.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Starz Home Entertainment
• Writer and Composer Audio Commentary
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