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‘Thirst’ (2020) review: Bad ass gay vampire movie is bloody fun

Not to be confused with that other vampire movie called ‘Thirst’.

For decades, movies have explored the queerness of vampires. For the longest time, it was done in code and thinly veiled messaging, but it was there. Thirst is an Icelandic vampire movie that throws away the subtleties of the past and adds lots of gore. The intended result is the most bad ass gay vampire movie ever. The question becomes, does it live up to its own hype?

Hulda is a drug addict who is arrested for murdering her brother. She is soon released due to insufficient evidence. Hulda seems to attract danger and before long meets Hjotur, a powerful vampire whom she seems to have much in common with. The two new friends soon find themselves on the run from a fanatical cult and a determined detective.

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It is not long before it becomes apparent what the movie is aiming for. It clear Thirst aims to be fun and it is going to be bloody. This is common in horror comedies, but can also lead to problems. Things may become so extreme they lose all enjoyment and fun. Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns is a deep rooted part of horror.

Thankfully, that is not as much of an issue here. Things get very violent very quickly, but the film never loses its charm. Thirst is more of an homage to the horror films of the 1980s than it is a serious attempt to shock or disgust audiences. This makes the many scenes of violence easier to watch and the comedy more enjoyable.

'Thirst' (2020) review: Bad ass gay vampire movie is bloody fun

Which is not to say that it never gets to be too much. Thirst relies on dick jokes a little too often, for example. In place of a deep plot (not the most important part of most horror comedies, granted) the film is content to give its audiences buckets of blood. It certainly makes for an entertaining movie, but it is also one held back by the limitations it has created for itself.

The developing friendship between Hulda and Hjotur is wonderful to watch. The two start as lonely drifters and stumble into each other’s lives. Thirst does an excellent job of building up this friendship. Even then, there are still moments when the mayhem of the movie seems to be more important than the two. Again, the reliance on gore takes over the storytelling.

'Thirst' (2020) review: Bad ass gay vampire movie is bloody fun

Hjotur is a wonderfully crafted character. He is overflowing with charisma and a great anti hero. There is a lingering question about him, however. Is he a gay vampire or a vampire that happens to be gay? The first means his queerness is part of what defines him, while the latter is just what he is. Either direction would have been interesting. This excellent source of character motivation is never really touched on. 

Thirst is a wild horror comedy out of Iceland that fans of the genre will love. Gore hounds will also appreciate how unabashedly bloody the movie can get. The film also has plenty of silly comedy to interest those who may normally ignore the film. There are some narrative miscues along the way, but nothing that will ruin the enjoyment of this gay vampire movie.

Fight Club by way of Guy Ritchie

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