Thirst definitely hits the shock horror mark. After seeing the opening sequence I paused the film and started it over to make sure what I saw was real (it was) and to prepare myself for the next 90 minutes. It has bloody and chaotic energy that will please fans of films like Evil Dead, House of 1000 Corpses, and Shaun of the Dead. This is a vampire film that made sure blood and gore came first and storyline came second. Viewers should prepare for an undead adventure riddled with wacky misadventures. Viewers should also prepare to ignore the storyline because it swiftly becomes turbid.
Two storylines intertwine as we discover Hulda, a drug addict arrested after being accused of murdering her brother, and Hjörtur, a gay, thousand-year-old vampire. The two cross paths after Hulda is released due to insufficient evidence and saves Hjörtur’s life… or so she thinks. From there blossoms an epic amount of chaos, an even more epic amount of blood, and an unexpected friendship.
Hjörtur Sævar Steinason’s performance as Hjörtur is biting (pun intended) and entertaining. His portrayal of a thousand-year-old vampire that is also gay is flawless. We taste his wit, sarcasm, and even enjoy the cheesier moments (cue all the ridiculous 80s angst synthwave montages…yes you read that right). His character is given depth with some touching scenes making Hjörtur well rounded and interesting. Steinason makes audiences laugh at him, gasp at him, and care about him all at once.
Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir also deserves recognition for her anchoring performance as drug-addicted Hulda. While not outlandish and insane, Hulda is the emotional appeal in this story, and Kristinsdóttir nails it. Her performance is wrought with pain, frantic displays, and desperation. It is a challenge to remain so grounded and serious amid a film riddled with cults, phallic destruction, and zombie-esque vampires. But Kristinsdóttir accepted the challenge and succeeded.
Though a blood-soaked spectacle, Thirst has its shortcomings. It is clear that more emphasis is on the shock, gore, and visual presentation of the film and less on storyline nuances and subtleties. Several supporting characters arrive to move the plot forward without really being clear about what the plot is. The last 20 minutes of the film were an absolute mess as far as the storyline is concerned and I had more questions than answers for what was happening in front of me.
That being said, in the last 20 minutes there is a murder montage that was absolutely kick-ass and it was without question my favorite part of the movie. Along with the murder montage, I was pleased to see some cheeky jokes and nods to other films (expect to see a major nod to Die Hard that is all things lame and glorious). Underneath the carnal carnage, at the end of the day, Thirst is about friendship that brought an extra special element into the film.
Overall, Uncork’d Entertainment has found a fun film in Thirst. Directors Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson and Gaukur Úlfarsson brought to life a film that could have totally flopped if not for some amusing style choices and if not for the film’s two solid leads. Thirst is all about blood, action, blood, murder, and more blood. Moviegoers looking for a rich and complicated story should continue looking elsewhere. But fans of bloody, gory, dark comedy, wild, wacky, nonsensical films will totally get a kick out of this Icelandic vampiric venture!
6 out of 10