Could have been worse, I guess
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 06/23/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Thirst: Blood War (Tom Shell, 2008)
I've seen a whole lot of bad horror movies over the years. I've become something of a connoisseur, in fact. I think I've seen every way in which a horror movie can be made bad. And the one that gets my goat the most is when someone takes an original, interesting approach to a genre that's been bled dry and botches the execution completely. Such is the case with The Thirst: Blood War, a movie made by a Troma veteran that tries for seriousness and fails utterly.
Will (Krav Maga champion A. J. Draven) is the token hippie on his college campus, the 98-pound weakling who gets kicked around by brainless jocks like Darren (Blood Deep's Cameron Diver), mostly because Darren has the hots for Jayne (Alone in the Dark II's Allison Lange), Will's best friend. Despite some warnings that Will may not be as weak as he appears, Darren keeps escalating until the two of them get into a major confrontation--during which we learn that Darren is only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg.
All of the good things about this movie come from a script by first-time screenwriter Ramesh Thadani. Where it would be easy to fall into the obvious good guy-bad guy trap, Thadani mixes it up, never really letting us know who's who here, aside from the fact that Will is (probably) the good guy, at least at the beginning. There's a lot to think about here in that regard. The script suffers in other ways, most notably in the character development arena (though with the rest of the script so well thought out, one wonders if there wasn't character development that got left on the cutting room floor), but in general it's the strongest part of the movie. Everything else goes from barely competent (some of the acting) to awful (the rest of the acting, the special effects, the direction...). Tom Shell started out his career as an actor in horrendous no-budget movies (Surf Nazis Must Die, Hard Rock Nightmare, et al.), and then moved to being a production manager on horrendous no-budget movies (Fangs, Alone in the Dark II, et al.). He's directed a few features over the years, but this one has by far had the widest distribution. As bad as it is, it may well sink his career, but if you look at it for the things it's got going for it, you may find yourself wishing for a competent remake. * ½