Reviewed by MattFini
Starring Corey Feldman, Casey B. Dolan, Tanit Phoenix, Jamison Newlander, Seb Castang
Directed by Dario Piana
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Enjoyment of Lost Boys: The Thirst is perhaps contingent on one’s reaction to 2008’s misguided Lost Boys: The Tribe, specifically Corey Feldman’s reprisal of resident vampire hunter Edgar Frog. Make no mistake, this second sequel to Joel Schumacher’s 1987’s vampire classic is a considerable step-up from the debacle of The Tribe, but we’re still wading through direct-to-video waters here. Burdened with a low budget (noticeably so at times) and some weak second-tier performances, Feldman’s grumpy vampire slayer takes center stage to battle a devious clan of raver vamps. Think of this not so much as a sequel to The Lost Boys but rather The Further Adventures of the Frog Brothers and it actually works.
Largely ignoring the events of The Tribe, Edgar Frog has fallen on tough times. His brother Allan (the returning Jamison Newlander) is now a vampire – the result of a botched slaying job – and killing vampires just isn’t the lucrative gig it once was. He’s approached by the mastermind behind a series of Twilight-esque novels, bestselling author Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix), to rescue her kidnapped brother from a pack of nefarious bloodsuckers. Edgar is reluctant to take up arms against these creatures as it means crossing swords with an ‘Alpha’ vamp (apparently the ‘original’ vampire) but soon finds himself leading a last-ditch rescue effort.
The Thirst isn’t taking itself very seriously; Feldman’s one-note, cantankerous Frog brother spends the entirety of the run time with a scowl on his face and a growl in his throat. It’s all that can be expected from a former child star who never had much range to begin with. The dynamics of his performance are naturally limited but the biggest surprise is that everything Feldman does winds up working in the movie’s favor. Between an altercation with a snobby comic book customer over term ‘graphic novel’, or competition with a pompous reality star turned amateur vampire hunter, everything’s a bother to Edgar Frog. He’s a guy who just wants to be left alone. Feldman milks that nuance for all it’s worth, winning us over while keeping his tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The rest of the cast finds varied success throughout. Seb Casting is appropriately skeezey as DJ X, the pompous record spinner with designs on enslaving the human race. Casey Dolan is Edgar’s loyal confidante and fellow comic geek, Zoe. Dolan isn’t an amazing actress and her performance is a tightrope act between the annoying and the engaging. Tanit Phoenix certainly looks the part of an exotic and alluring prissy writer but she isn’t given much to do aside from appear in varying degrees of undress. Much has been touted around the triumphant return of the Frog Brothers, but Jamison Newlander finds himself in the backseat for much of the proceedings. A shame, too, considering that he and Feldman have some damn good chemistry whenever they’re on screen. The Thirst spends some time repairing their brotherly rift and, should a fourth film see the light of day, let’s hope the producers see fit to give Newlander more to do than appear in a handful of scenes.
It’s evident that The Thirst wants to tell a story that is too large for its budget. From the opening scene which finds the Frog Brothers tracking vampires in Washington D.C. to the final action set piece, the action is never quite as rousing as it wants to be. Fight choreography falls entirely on the clunky side and the climactic battle with big bad number one goes off without a hitch. But director Dario Piana does his best to cover budgetary limitations with some gratuitous doses of nudity and gore while moving things at a breakneck pace (76 minutes, sans credits). The end result is a film that occasionally feels like it’s trying awfully hard not to overstay its welcome, but some important character bits and story points tend to feel a bit rushed as a result.
Some will argue that there never should’ve been a sequel to The Lost Boys and now there’s two (with promise of another). This is the film Warner Bros. should’ve given us the first time out and they obviously realized it too since they went through great lengths to rectify the travesty of The Tribe. Keep those expectations in check and enjoy the goofy delights offered here. It’s far from perfect but it’s not hard to have a good time.
The Thirst takes a bite out of Blu-ray with a soft-looking, yet detailed high definition transfer. Colors take on an intentionally muted tone throughout much of the film although that doesn’t prevent this encode from offering inky black levels and appeasing grain structure. There are some very minor instances where blocking and clipping is glimpsed but nothing that should detract from enjoying this modest little HD presentation.
The DTS HD 5.1 track is more successful, offering an aggressive mixture of textured music and effective sound effects. Dialogue is slightly flat but falls easy on the ear. There lots of action to keep this one chugging along and Warner’s track does it tired and true justice.
There’s only a handful of supplements to be found here, a silly featurette called How to Kill a Vampire runs five minutes and features Edgar Frog and an array of weapons. The Return of the Frog Bros. runs for seven minutes in which you can see Corey Feldman interview both Frog Brothers. What is the Thirst is a throwaway, six minute feature which is nothing but promos for the vampire drug glimpsed in the film. Lastly, Charisma Carpenter Hosts The Art of Seduction: Vampire Lore is a superficial look at vampire culture and its allure. Meh.
It would’ve been nice had Warner Bros. bothered to give us a commentary track with the Frog Brothers or something of equal substance, but even if this disc offers a meager collection of forgettable extras, the movie is still a lot of fun in the right frame of mind. Lost Boys: The Thirst isn’t necessarily a worthy successor to the original but it’s a delightfully goofy time nonetheless.
3 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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