Thirst (2015) Movie Review

Reviewed by Kevin Scott,

Thirst (2015)
Written by Elizabeth Hansen and Greg Kiefer
Directed by Greg Kiefer
Cast: Karl Makinen (Burt), Clare Niederpruem (Courtney), Jes Macallan (Claire), Ryan Zimmer (Luis), Ashley Santos (Meeka), Cardiff Gerhardt (Trapper), John Redlinger (Roth), Bryan Dayley (Wes), Christina Thurmond (Summer)

I keep discovering the benefits of having Amazon Prime. Free shipping seems to be only the tip of the iceberg of perks. A huge perk is the Amazon Prime Video app that has free streaming for Prime members. This app not only has some unconventional titles amidst established classics, but it also has the capability to download films and TV shows to watch offline when time may be on your side, but Wi-Fi availability isn’t. I know other streaming apps have that functionality also, but from personal experience, the Amazon one seems to be the only one that works consistently.

Streaming has revolutionized the way we watch films. Back in the day, a rented video cassette required commitment regardless of how things turned out. It had to spend the night, and you had to take it home the next day. It didn’t matter if you had just planted the seeds of a long term love affair with a film, or you ended up questioning the consistency of your better judgement skills the morning after. You were stuck with paying for a full day of that film’s company. Streaming is like speed dating. One wrong comment about their relationship with their mother, or a strange hobby and that film gets kicked to the curb in favor of extremely accessible and possibly more favorable options. I’ve really tried to set two rules to live by when watching any kind of film, and especially a horror film that I might review. I’m not looking at my phone, and I’m finishing it no matter how bad it is. Pretty lofty goals, I know, but I’m about at an eighty percent level of success.

I have to say that Thirst is like that quiet Goth girl you meet who ends up being pretty sweet and innocent. The poster art may lend to some hardcore alien horror, but in reality it’s closer to Tremors or Eight Legged Freaks. The opener is a nice The Thing homage with a view from space and the alien vessel hurling toward Earth. One unlucky townie happens upon the wreck. The alien seems to need a constant supply of water and humans seem to be the most convenient source. There’s nothing left but a dry husk. If it attacked livestock, it could make beef jerky right on the hoof.

I cited Tremors earlier. The majority of Thirst takes place in the desert. It may have been intentional for a double meaning on the title, which would’ve been clever. The pool of potential victims is gonna come from a therapist, a wilderness survival guide, their young protégé, and a group of troubled teenagers. It’s kind of like a “scared straight” survival program that constantly rides the fringe of legal action from remorseful parents. Claire and Burt run the program and mean well, but Burt’s anger issues, dark past and the program’s financial troubles are a constant thorn in their side. Burt, who is played with a perfect measure of earnest abrasiveness by Karl Makinen, is the standout character. I realized two things. Burt doesn’t have the character arc that I wish he had here, and also any Karl that spells their name with a “K” instead of a “C” is usually pretty awesome. The Turning point is a fatal attack on one member of the group after a difficult decision by Claire to continue on even after finding the dead body of the townie is his truck. The remainder of the film is a cat and mouse game between the group and the alien who seems to be systematically hunting them relentlessly until a final showdown.

There’s a few things about this film that I wish had been different. Close relationships end up just happening instead of evolving over all the duress, and a few characters were gone too soon and some wore out their welcome. The alien is clearly CGI, but doesn’t look as bad as you might think. I can recommend this film because it does fall into the coveted category of ideal first “real” horror films for any young fan. There’s very little profanity, absolutely no nudity, and palatable violence that will shake up the fragile and unjaded sensibilities of a horror newbie. We all start somewhere, and Thirst is just as good a place as any. It’s not quite on a level of Tremors or Eight Legged Freaks, but a genuinely entertaining and ideal Saturday afternoon horror flick.

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