Friday, May 25, 2007

The Thirst (2006)

A young couple is struggling with sober living after a life of addiction. Maxx (Matt Keeslar) begins to suspect that Lisa (Clare Kramer – best known as Glory from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series) is using again. She has begun working as a stripper, frequently vomits and reeks of death. One night, Lisa collapses on stage and is rushed to the ER. Maxx confronts her about drugs, but she admits to him that she is dying of cancer. Instead of slowly rotting away, Lisa decided to take matters into her own hands…

Maxx mourns Lisa’s suicide until one day, when his friends drag him to a goth/industrial club and Maxx sees someone who looks just like Lisa on the crowded dance floor. She disappears, but Maxx comes back the next night to try and find her. He finds her alright, but she is now a vampire. Turns out she made a pact with a vampire named Mariel (Serena Scott Thomas) to fake her own death and is now part of a family of vampires, led by Darius (the always gorgeous and entertaining Jeremy Sisto) Maxx is soon brought into the fold as well, but after the high that blood drinking brings, both Maxx and Lisa decide to turn their backs on their new family and try to give up the blood cold turkey…Can they survive the craving for blood AND Darius’ mad vampire family?

The Thirst is a blood splattered but bumpy ride. It has a serious streak running throughout it, with vampirism acting as a metaphor for drug addiction. On the other hand, it also has a goofy, silly and almost exploitative side to it as well. Its uneven tone prevented me from enjoying it wholeheartedly, but its buckets of blood approach at least kept me mildly amused.

The absolute best thing about this film was the blood splatter. Thick and viscous ribbons of blood erupt from the vampires’ victims. Sheets of blood drench the characters and blood sprays across faces, torsos, and any anything within a 20 foot radius. If this were a live show, the first five rows would be considered the “wet zone.” Blood coats everything. The blood splatter, combined with the gore (one scene, involving Lisa and Maxx going after a cat after they’ve holed up in their apartment and tried to quit human blood, is especially hard to watch) are truly fantastic!

The rest of the movie, though, ain’t so red hot. My main complaint was the lackluster and uneven story. The story felt pulled in way too many different directions and it was stretched so thin that all that was left were shallow characters and half-assed subplots. Considering that five different people worked on the screenplay, it’s not hard to see why the story is so sporadic and unbalanced. At one point, it’s a parable about addictions and takes a very serious tone, but the next scene switches to an all out TG & A fest (that’s tits, gore and ass, a phrase patented by yours truly)!!

The characters themselves felt bland and underused. Jeremy Sisto, one of my favorite actors, played a silly Russian-by-way-of-Texas vampire. His accent felt forced and kept switching from Southern twang to Russian growl. Sisto is usually a joy to watch, but in this instance I felt severely let down. As the head of the vampiric household, he sure didn’t seem menacing to me and seemed far too bumbling to lead anyone. Gorgeous Serena Scott Thomas played vampire Mariel with much better results, though she too seemed to lack screen time. Rounding out the vampire crew were Adam Baldwin (Serenity and Firefly) as cowboy Lenny, Neil Jackson as the Duke and Kylah Kim and Aye Rose Roohl as two gyrating, half-naked sisters. Surprisingly, it was Neil Jackson who stole the show with his delightfully vicious Duke character. It’s too bad he didn’t get very much screen time! It’s also worth mentioning that one of my favorite actors from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s last two seasons, Tom Lenk, who played Andrew, appears in the film in a small, yet satisfying, role.

Sure, The Thirst has a story that starts to fall apart like a decomposing body in 120 degree weather by the 40 minute mark, but at least it’s got the bloody action to keep it together, even if it is held together by a frayed sinew. If you are looking for fast and furious vampire fun, complete with fountains of the sticky red stuff and boobs galore and little else, The Thirst may quench your craving. If you are looking for something a little meatier, though, steer clear.

Available from Amazon!

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