Thirst (2019) is a fun filled horror-comedy that gorehounds will adore and find endlessly entertaining.
Sometimes the opening scene is all you need to know what exactly a film is going to be all about. Thirst (2019) doesn’t hold back at all, and we are quickly treated to what we will see very often further into the film. We open meeting our main character, Hjörtur (Hjörtur Sævar Steinason), a thousand year old vampire, and witness as he quite literally tears off the genitals of his latest victim, as an 80s synth takes us into the opening credits. This sets the tone perfectly, as we know exactly what to expect: a gore filled film with lots of fun kills. This isn’t Hjörtur’s first time committing this sort of act, and it’s certainly not his last, as we will soon learn.
Hjörtur soon crosses paths with drug addict Hulda (Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir), who was recently accused of murdering her own brother. Hulda stumbles across Hjörtur as he is about to be killed in an alleyway by two men. Hulda assumes he is some poor helpless old man at first, but quickly learns that he is more than capable at defending himself, and that the two of them might have more in common than she thought. They soon become an unlikely yet unbreakable duo, and find themselves evading and attempting to fight off a cult led by the rogue detective investigating Hulda.
Thirst asserts itself extremely early on. From a glance, it seems like a straight horror, but it takes no time establishing that, while yes, of course it is a horror film, it’s more rooted in comedy. It finds its entertainment in its goofy kills and crazy situations, and that’s what makes it work. It never takes itself too seriously and realizes those that are actually interested in this sort of thing will be mesmerized at just how far this film will take it. Not to mention, the cast knows exactly what sort of film they’re taking part in, and they are having a ball with it.
There are, of course, a lot of themes packed within the layers of Thirst, with religion being a huge one, as the cult our main characters find themselves entangled with is primarily Christian, pushing a question about the validity of organized religion and comparing it quite literally to a hive mindset that aims to hurt others, especially those that don’t think like them.
The film doesn’t back down from using satire, especially when criticizing humans and the nature of them. In a scene poking fun at our culture dismissing and rejecting death, a character quite literally holds the intestines of another character in their hands while telling them that “it’s going to be alright”! It’s scenes like these that make Thirst so effective, off putting what would be seen by most as horrifying gore with jokes and a not so serious attitude. It makes it even more entertaining because you never know what’s coming, if the next scene you witness will either leave you laughing or completely petrified.
Everything about the film is fitting for what it is going for: even things like the production value and soundtrack. The overdone blood fits with the over the top tone, splattering around like something almost out of a cartoon. The soundtrack is a blend of synths and saxophones, and in all honestly, something about it just makes a story about vampires all the more cool, especially this one.
All in all, Thirst certainly won’t fit the taste of just anybody, and that makes complete and total sense, given the content. It’s the sort of film you watch and just feel like you’re seeing a cult classic in the making, due to the absolute dedication put into it, no matter how weird it happens to get. It’s bizarre, fun, and even offers some commentary that, whether you agree with or not, is well woven into this wild adventure. And whether it fits your taste or not, one thing is for sure: it’s never boring, and that certainly says all you need to know about it.
Icelandic adrenaline-pumping vampire epic Thirst premieres on DVD and Digital December 1 in North America.