Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lost Boys: The Thirst – review

Director: Dario Piana

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

The Thirst is the third Lost Boys movie. After the iconic first film there was a rubbish graphic novel, Reign of Frogs, and a distinctly average second film, the Tribe.

Given this you can understand if I was nervous about this instalment. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I realised half way through that I was really enjoying the film.

It begins with a scene of the Frog brothers, Edgar (Cory Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), In Washington DC rescuing a congressman, Blake (Matthew Dylan Roberts), from a vampire senator. This leads to the referential (to the first film) line re the attack of grandpa Munster and, unfortunately, Alan being turned. Reign of Frogs suggested the Washington mission to be a made up story and also had Alan turned at the Widow Johnson's, but the mythology suggested in there has been kind of ignored. We cut to Edgar waking in his trailer to discover that he is being evicted.

Casey B Dolan as Zoe
After credits that see a rave interspersed with cartoon images from Reign of Frogs – and later we see the graphic stocked in the comic book store. Edgar goes to the store to try and sell some comics (to make cash) but he won’t part with Batman number 14 (a first film reference). As he leaves another worker, Zoe (Casey B Dolan), comes in and offers to sell his remaining comics for him on ebay. A celebrity blogger, Johnny Trash (Proeus Xander Steencamp), comes in. He is in town because of a rumour that the next DJ X (Seb Castang) rave will be in town.

Tanit Phoenix as Gwen
Edgar gets back to his trailer and nearly crashes into a car owned by Gwen Leiber (Tanit Phoenix) – a writer, it later transpires, of vampire romance. She knows who Frog is and what covens he has destroyed. She tells him that DJ X has been giving out a new drug at his raves, called the Thirst, this is actually vampire blood and he is building an army of vampires. She suggests that X is the alpha – the main head vampire. For reasons unknown he has kidnapped her brother, Peter (Felix Mosse), and she wants him saved. Frog turns the job down.

X is on a plane with Peter secured and drugged via IV bags. The vampires jump out of the plane and freefall – because it is fun. On the ground they are accosted by Trash who demands an interview. This is given, revealing that the town will be the rave location, and then Trash finds himself vampire chow. In the meantime Edgar visits Alan for help with the job he has turned down (as it might prove to be a cure). Clearly Alan has not yet fed on a human and there is plenty of animal road kill in his warehouse home. Alan turns Edgar down.

Edgar takes the job but is distraught to find he must work with celebrity big game hunter Lars von Getz (who thinks the whole vampire thing is just a twisted role play). Alan leaves Edgar a sacred book of vampires to help him (delivering it in sunlight proves he is still half vampire). Edgar takes it to Zoe to research, who is then immediately attacked by a vampire. Edgar comes to the rescue but she maces her attacker with holy water. How does she know about vampires? That is a question Edgar fails to ask until the end of the movie but it is answered eventually.

killing vampires
Zoe and Edgar then go to Blake – no longer a congressman but a paranoid weapons builder, think a younger Whistler from Blade. Plenty of weapons are picked up but when night falls a group of vampires attack. Now, this volume doesn’t go for a variety of death scenes, sticking to two basic deaths. One being a vampire exploding into globules of goo and the other being a burning into ash. In this scene a stake machine gun cuts three down at once.

Edgar works out where the lair of the vampires will be and he, Zoe, Gwen, Lars and Lar's cameraman Claus (Joe Vaz) head to the old slaughterhouse. Will they rescue Peter? Will Alan come around, and decide to help? Will a vampire plague be prevented? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Don't mess with a Frog
The film was wonderfully referential. We had lots of tie-ins to the first film and flashback scenes lifted from it. We also get a reference, directly, to I am Legend. Okay it is a lot more comic book and larger than life – something portrayed in a lot of the performances – but it was great fun. Some of the references didn’t work, we get a flashback to the alpha in the eleventh century giving the “never grow old” speech above a camp fire and, as well as being sub-Godric from True Blood, it was a forced reference too far. That said one moment in the whole film I can live with. The film certainly did vampires and raves better than Beyond the Rave.

Charisma Carpenter hosts the documentary
Is it worth getting into the lore… probably not, given there is nothing really new or different from the classic first film. There is an excellent twist on the use of holy water that I will not spoil. All in all the film was just really good fun – and I don’t care if that statement makes me unpopular! How did it manage this? It respected the first film but didn’t try to rehash it and it concentrated on Edgar – a shrewd move. Feldman gravels it up and is having a great time. The film takes a moment to offer respect to the character of Sam (suggesting that he had turned and Edgar did what was necessary) and, in turn, pays a brief but heart felt homage to Corey Haim. The DVD has a brief feature on the allure of the vampire presented by Charisma Carpenter.

6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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