Directed by Jeremy Kasten
Produced by Mark A. Altman, Mark Gottwald, & Chuck Speed
Written by Ben Lustig, Liz Maccie, Wayne Mahon and Mark A. Altman & Jeremy Kasten
Director of Photograpy Raymond Stella
Music by Joe Kraemer
Cast: Clare Kramer, Matt Keeslar, Erik Palladino, Jeremy Sisto, Adam Baldwin
2006/88 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.78:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Starz Home Entertainment DVD
In my recent review for THE GRAVEDANCERS, a film I enjoyed, I stated that I would watch any movie in which Clare Kramer appeared. After seeing THE THIRST, I'm re-assessing that statement.
Kramer stars in THE THIRST as Lisa, an exotic dancer who has a history of substance abuse. Her boyfriend, Max (Matt Keeslar), was also once an addict, but he's recently gotten clean and resents the fact that Lisa won't quit using. Those feelings of resentment soon turn to feelings of guilt when he learns that Lisa hasn't relapsed, but has inoperable cancer, thus explaining her appearance and behavior. (Sure, why not?) While in the hospital, Lisa is visited by Mariel (Serena Scott Thomas), who claims to be part of the staff. Following this visit, Lisa leaves the hospital, returns to the apartment which she shares with Max, and kills herself.
Max is devastated by this and falls into a deep funk. His friends, Jason (Erik Palladino) and Macey (Charlotte Ayanna), find him in this state and force him to clean himself up and go out with them...to a goth dance club. (Really?) Imagine Max's surprise when he finds Lisa at the club, seemingly alive and well (and with better hair). Max soon learns that Lisa has become a vampire, and was sired by Mariel, who, as it turns out, didn't work for the hospital. Lisa is part of a group of vampires led by Darius (Jeremy Sisto) and also includes Lenny (Adam Baldwin), Duke (Neil Jackson), and The Sisters (Kylah Kim and Aye Rose Roohl). Max is elated to find Lisa alive and he allows her to make him a vampire. He then enters a world of addiction -- the thirst for blood -- like one he's never known.
Which comes first: The movie or the blurb? Typically, the critical quotes are the reaction to an existing film, but in this case, it's hard to tell. The DVD cover art for THE THIRST features this quote from "Cinefantastique Magazine", "REQUIEM FOR A DREAM meets NEAR DARK." OK, that pretty much sums up the movie -- so much so that I can see this being the filmmaker's mantra while they were making the movie. The vampire "family" is very similar to the group in NEAR DARK, right down to the father figure and the character who talks about having lived for 100s of years. The addiction theme isn't as prevalent and strong as it was in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, but it's definitely present here and is a considerable subplot.
The concept of the terminally ill woman becoming a vampire is somewhat fresh (to me at least), but the rest of the story feels very familiar -- even beyond the film references listed above. The movie falls back on many vampire films cliches, and the promise of a relatively unique story never comes to fruition. Things really get predictable in the latter half of the film, which really mirrors NEAR DARK. This portion of the movie feels quite tedious and I found myself itching to fast-forward.
While the makers of THE THIRST apparently weren't going for originality, they seemed to be intent on making the bloodiest vampire movie ever. Every bite, stabbing, or cut in this film results in literal geysers of blood. This become ludicrous after a while as every actor in every scene become drenched in the red stuff. The movie is violent and has plenty of gore, but the constant spraying blood is nothing short of distracting.
I've seen several movies from Mindfire Entertainment and I'm always surprised by the "name" actors that they are able to get. THE THIRST boasts a good cast, especially Clare Kramer, but they are wasted on the weak material. Director Jeremy Kasten created a fairly fun atmosphere with his ALL SOULS DAY, but THE THIRST is tedious and unoriginal. The central idea of a dying woman becoming a vampire is interesting, but the rest sucks.
THE THIRST remains unquenched on DVD courtesy of Starz Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The movie was shot on Super 16mm film and that is quite obvious on this transfer, as the image is unbelievably grainy. On the DVD's audio commentary, producer Mark A. Altman states that some of the grain was removed during post-production. Really? Then I can't imagine what the original film looked like. The grain here is incredibly distracting and the pictures is simply ugly. This grain leads to a severe look which creates shimmering effects. The colors are OK, especially the reds, but flesh tones look waxy. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provide clear dialogue and sound effects. The mix is OK, but it fails in some ways. In the nightclub scene, for instance, the techno music has hardly any bass, but the sound effects of background conversations is loud. Realistically, you wouldn't be able to hear another person in a place like that. Stereo effects are OK, but surround effects are weak.
THE THIRST DVD has only a few extras. We start with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from co-writer/producer Mark A. Altman and composer Joe Kraemer. This is a satisfactory chat as Altman talks about the conception and production of the film, while Kraemer discusses the score and soundtrack music. They touch on the actors, locations, and budgetary restraints. The DVD contains 7 DELETED SCENES, which run about 17 minutes. All of these are simply extended versions of scenes from the film and gives us no new information. The final extra is a PICTURE GALLERY.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©