Steinþórsson’s Icelandic horror-comedy THIRST really hates dicks. Can I say that? (looks to the editor) Well, at the very least, it certainly has a lot to say so let’s…bite right into it.

The plot revolves around Hulda (Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir), a woman drifting through life, an addict, and now a suspect in her brother’s mysterious death. Luck doesn’t go her way as her mother disowns her, she can’t find a safe place for the night, she’s continuously hounded by Detective Jens (Jens Jensson), and continues to place herself in dangerous situations.

Much like when she finds some street thugs beating up an older, defenseless man. Standing up for the victim, she charges into certain danger. However, this is no ordinary man but Hjörtur (Hjörtur Sævar Steinason), a powerful vampire and drifter like her.

As they begin to form a bond, a fanatical religious cult along with Detective Jens start to close in on these unlikely friends. Can their friendship survive what’s to come when they might not even be able to?

While writing this, I want to point out that this movie has a lot of contenders for even just the title of THIRST. There’s literally at least six others that come up in Google (Rod Hardy’s 1979, Bill L. Norton’s 1998, Jeffrey Scott Lando’s 2008, Park Chan-wook’s 2009, Robert Carte’s 2012, and Greg Kiefer’s 2015). So, can it stand out on it’s own in a sea of THIRSTy films? Well, let’s take a look at what it does right.

Still from the horror film THIRST

I’ve watched my fair share and then some of gay vampire movies. This is supposedly among them; however, what I enjoy about Hjörtur is that he is very much a vampire. He is disconnected from humanity. His queerness has transformed into hunger than just raw sexuality or (even more so) romance. He is not looking for love. He is literally looking for dick. To eat. Many, many times throughout the movie.

However, I really liked this sense of queerness as being part of a vampire character. He is detached, strange, and other-worldly, almost to the point of insanity. He is more animal, a “child of the night” as he succinctly puts it. So, his attraction is more visceral than sexual and I enjoyed that twist. As much as they are touting him out as a gay vampire icon, the crown doesn’t sit quite right, or maybe sits askew. He is very much a hunter of gay men, and less a pride-flag waving icon, but maybe that’s exactly the message.

So, to watch his friendship grow with Hulda and to regain parts of humanity back with that friendship, is something very sincere and surprisingly touching to watch. They are much more “people” than any kind of representation.

What I also enjoyed about this film, apart from the campy humor and homage to 80’s horror style, is that we have unanswered questions. Not everything is easily explained or wrapped up in a tight bow. There’s realism to that fact and its unsaid acceptance in the movie because the crux is not in the details, but in the awakening of the humanity of our two leads which they explore with each other.

The cast is stellar, comedic, and engaging to watch. The ambiance and lighting are PHENOMENAL and need to win some kind of award (I’ll make one up if they don’t). The comedy can be both subtle and gross-out, and the horror is over-the-top but enjoyable and has practical effects. But seriously, that fake dick should have gotten top billing because of the screen time it received. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this movie hates dicks.

Bottom-line, watch the first scene and if you’re into it, you’ll love it. I thoroughly was thrilled to sink my teeth into this campy, blood-splattered delight. THIRST will be available on DVD and Digital December 1, 2020.

J.M. Brannyk
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