Thirst is an Icelandic splatter horror film has some unexpected moments of
poignant drama and comedy. It’s kind of like a less arty version of Let the
Right One In (which was one of the few complete horror masterpieces of the last
few decades), but it much far more violent, grim, and disturbing.
The film originally came out in Iceland in December 2019, but it actually
started turning up recently at some local libraries on the south side including
Oak Lawn. It is also currently streaming on Amazon Prime. There is often a big
lag between the time a film from another country premiers there and when it
appears on American shores.
It has received mostly mixed notices along with a few rave reviews mostly in
cult publications and websites like Artslut and Bloody Disgusting.
Thirst should not be confused with the films of the same name including the 1979
Australian film about vampires keeping a human farm, the 2009 South Korean film
about a priest turned vampire, and the 2006 American/Canadian film about drug
addicts who tangle with a vampire clan.
The film begins when a seemingly respectable businessman who lies to his wife
when says he has to work late. Instead he goes to the woods at a local pick up
spot for gays cruising for sex. He picks up an old guy who tears him apart and
feeds on him in the most brutal way imaginable.
An apathetic and isolated female heroin user named Hulda goes to visit her
brother in a small town, and when he ends up dead, the police suspect she is
But an unusual friendship emerges between two of the loneliest people on Earth
when she stumbles upon a street skirmish and tries to defend Hjörtur, (the actor
has the same name as the character), an old man from some violent street hoods (Hjörtur
was also the vamp who had earlier torn up the married man that was cruising.)
But he turns out to be an ancient vampire that can easily withstand anything the
thugs can dish out. It seems like he allows himself to get beat up for a while
just so he can feel something. There is more than a bit of sadomasochism in the
film and in the vamp.
The vamp tries to repay his new friend for at least trying to save him by
resurrecting her dead brother, but he does not come back right, and all hell
breaks loose. As things get worse, audience members may find themselves caring
about and rooting for the two main antihero characters despite their huge moral
Gore aficionados (particularly Fangoria readers) will appreciate the scene when
the old vamp rips a thug’s face in half, and early on when the vampire brutally
castrates one of his victims. In most films they would seen excessive, but
somehow in this context they actually seem to be the tight creative choices, and
the carnage is always presented creatively.
As you can probably tell this film is not aiming to be a high brow masterpiece,
and it is not meant for the Hallmark film crowd or people with weak stomachs.
But for what it’s worth, it’s definitely the finest gay slasher/splatter
/supernatural comedic buddy horror film from Iceland I have ever seen (the film
got some points from me for its uniqueness and originality). If that sounds like
your cup of tea, you might want to give it a shot.