Directed Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Gaukur Úlfarsson.
Starring Hjörtur Sævar Steinason, Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir, ngvar E. Sigurdsson, Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir and Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir.
The drug addict Hulda is arrested after she’s accused of murdering her brother. After she is let go because of insufficient evidence, she meets Hjörtur, a thousand-year-old gay vampire. Together they have to fight a cult while being investigated by a rogue detective.
Being considered the most metal movie of 2020 should be an honor. While Thirst is nowhere near the heavy metal horror insanity of something like 2018’s Mandy, this Icelandic vampire film has all the brutality and bad-ass energy you’d want. From start to finish, this is a ridiculously fun ride that leaves you craving every drop of blood it offers.
Thirst isn’t without its faults, though, as anyone could expect from an independent vampire film. Sometimes it feels too over-reliant on its gore, sometimes the acting feels so stilted and like they are literally reading words off a script. Still, all of those negative thoughts leave when another scene starts because you are just so invested in the bloody insanity happening.
All of this couldn’t happen without Hjörtur Sævar Steinason’s wonderful turn as Hjörtur, a thousand-year-old vampire with more sass and personality than any of his millennial counterparts. I usually hate when a film is crutched on a singular brilliant performance, but you can’t help fall in love when it’s this insane.
Hulda, a drug addict, trying to figure out the murder of her brother, meets up with our beloved gay vampire Hjörtur, and the two form a bond as they run from a cult, investigators, and their own personal dramas. This premise allows tons of comedy, many insane moments of gore, and some solid tension throughout. I never knew Nordic-Noir was a type of crime thriller, but I am glad Thirst was my first example of that style.
This has all you’d from a noir film, the mood/atmosphere/drama you’d expect, but there’s a layer of heavy metal insanity that elevates it to another level. There’s a little bit of a zombie movie here; there’s the obvious vampire angle as well, which leads to more blood than you’d imagine. Seriously, the first few kills in this movie were so graphic and ridiculous that it took me a moment to get adjusted to this film’s stylings.
Not for the faint of heart barely touches the surface of how insane this movie gets, and that’s exactly how I like my extreme horror cinema. Filmmakers Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson and Gaukur Úlfarsson held nothing back, knowing they’d make a select group of viewers very happy by making this movie as insane as possible. But thankfully, they also know a balance is needed and find ways to make the film work in-between the moments of insanity.
None of this would work if our two leads, Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir and Hjörtur Sævar Steinason, weren’t so committed to making this film work. There are so many insane things these two are asked to do or be apart of, and they sell it with all their force.
While Hulda Lind Kristinsdóttir doesn’t have as flashy and as bold of a role as her male counterpart, there’s still something powerful and important to her performance. She grounds a lot of the insanity and helps bring balance to it. If it were all-male genitalia-ripping violence, you’d be bored by the second act. But Hulda does exactly what she needs to bring this to an even level of strange and places amazingly well off Hjörtur Sævar Steinason.
Speaking of Hjörtur, what a brilliant find for this film! No other person could’ve made this campy, gross vampire role work to this degree. When you have moments this graphic and a plot this strange, you need someone to really sell what your offering and Hjörtur Sævar Steinason is the perfect horror salesman. Thirst would fall flat if it weren’t for this actor knowing his tone, style, and how to make the most out of a close-up.
2019 and 2020 were years stacked with great horror offerings; from mainstream outings to independent hidden gems, a lot is coming from the genre that’s worth seeing. You can add Thirst to that list as something die-hard gore and vampire fans need to see at least once in their life. But reader beware, this movie might be even too over-the-top for even the most loyal of insane movie watchers. You can’t turn your eyes away from the screen, even when the filmmakers try their hardest to make you squirm.
Finding the balance of the noir, comedy, and horror elements is no easy task, but Thirst does it well and does it with immense style.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★