Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
Jeffery Scott Lando
What's it about
A car accident in the desert strands two young couples in a nightmare of beating sun and dehydration, and they struggle to survive in this harsh environment long enough to find the nearest glimmer of civilization.
Is it good movie?
I got kind of excited when I ripped into my latest package of DVDs to review and saw Thirst along the spine of one of them. But, alas, this is not Chan-Wook Park's provocative priest-as-vampire film. No, this is a ham-fisted little waste of time that wants to be The Ruins so bad it's pathetic. It even begins with the impossibly pretty twentysomething couples at pool-side, and one of them is a medical student. I mean, come on. They decide to have a similar adventure, in this case to the desert instead of the jungle, and an encounter with a wolf in the road leads them to have a crashed-up truck and no way back to town, some 80 miles away. But instead of a cool concept like sentient, murderous plants, here the only thing hemming our protagonists in is their own rampant stupidity.
Right off the bat, I never had a clear idea of how these two couples even knew each other. I have a 1000-Watt surround sound system, and I had to crank the volume in a futile attempt to catch any dialogue at all. The end result is that they decide to go way the hell out into the middle of nowhere in the desert so one dude could shoot photos of his new girlfriend, played by Mercedes McNab, while the other dude argues like a sissy with his wife, played by Lacy Chabert. As soon as they trekked off with a clearly insufficient supply of water and no sun-protection gear or first-aid kit or emergency roadside equipment, I just wanted them all to die right away and save me the rest of the painful 85-minute runtime. No such luck.
One thing that amused me was how everyone kept deferrring to Chabert's character's judgement, the photographer dude going so far as to say, "you're the smartest person I know." And if that is the case, I don't ever want to visit his world. This is the girl who thinks it is a good idea to trepan the other chick with a damn screwdriver and a rock. And apparently only one of the four had a cell phone, and after trying to get a signal for about 30-seconds, no mention is ever made of it again. They drink their own urine, but never pull their one phone out a second time. They make a crude compass from silk panties and a razor blade on a string, but it never occurs to them to start perambulating back towards town instead of arguing around the fire for two damn nights in a row.
In fairness to the actors, they do the best they can with the material given to them. Which in this case equals a tissue-thin non-script. Director Jeffrey Lando is good at b-movies, hell, I really enjoyed Incesticidal, but when it comes time to deliver mood and tension, it's a great big fizzle. The direction is self-conscious and the camera tends to linger too long on dramatic scenes, creating melodrama out of thin air. According to IMDb he certainly has no lack of work, so more power to him, but he dropped the ball here in my opinion. The cinematography is appropriately washed out for a desert flick, but the make-up and SFX are not nearly as unflinching as they needed to be to deliver the drama. This thing was just half-stepped the across the board. Kudos to you if it keeps your interest for more than 15 minutes.
Video / Audio
Video: The case says 16x9, and also 1.78 Full Frame. Which I think is a way of implying that a full frame presentation is really widescreen. Whatever. The transfer looks fine, for the times when I was actually looking at the screen.
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound, with optional Spanish and English for the hearing impaired subtitles. I will say that ADR levels in this film suck. The overall sound was decent, it was just difficult to hear what the actors were saying in lots of scenes.
The back of the DVD case compares this movie to Open Water. Not hardly. This is a clumsy, uninteresting film about a collection of dullards who stupid themselves to death in the desert. Unless you like to say, "Oh, come ON!" every five minutes, I'd probably give this one a pass.