The Thirst

Dir: Jeremy Kasten
Star: Matt Keeslar, Clare Kramer, Jeremy Sisto, Serena Scott Thomas

The "vampirism as substance abuse" idea has been done before, nost notably by Abel Ferrara's The Addiction, so there isn't anything instrinsically new here Near Dark is another obvious influence, with a vampire clan roaming the night, engaging in wholesale slaughter [amusingly, here they leave notes blaming Islamic terrorists for the incidents]. It centres on Maxx (Keeslar), whose girlfiend Lisa (Kramer) kills herself, apparently rather than struggle against terminal cancer - both are recovering addicts, though he is doing rather more recovering. However, he then sees her in a nightclub, and it turns out that her death was just a ruse, to cover her joining a nomadic tribe of vampires under Darius (Sisto). She recruits Maxx over to the night-life, and he is initially enthusiastic enough - right up until he discovers that his new it means sharing Lisa with Darius. That sets him against his mentor, on a very bloody path.

And yeah, I'm not kidding about the "very bloody." I don't think I've seen a more arterial vampire film; in fact, I've not seen many bloodier, of any genre, since throats, stomach and limbs get ripped open, all resulting in fountains of the red stuff. While that's likely the thing you'll remember most, the performances are generally good, with Sisto his usual, reliable self, and a good selection of supporting characters, who are interesting to watch. Kasten does tend to go over the top with the stylistic excesses too often for my liking, jazzing up with visual trickery things that really don't need to be enhanced at all. However, much credit is due for the final shot, which has to be one of the most mournfully beautiful in the entire vampire canon - if they'd started with the idea for that, then worked their way back, I wouldn't have any complaints. That alone would make this worthwhile, and that is certainly not its only merit; all told, it's one of the better modern vampire films I've seen.

[September 2010]

Drinking problem
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