I thought Lost Boys: The Tribe was awful. As a film it failed to deliver either scares, laughs, or any sense of fun, and as a sequel it was awkward and insecure – trying to be both a sequel and a reboot, with an unsure approach. It is surely a testament to how much people liked the original Lost Boys that there is still enough presumed interest in the property for Lost Boys: The Thirst. This film isn’t great but it also isn’t terrible either. It sure helps that it is following up such a misguided stinkfest too.
Correcting one of the more perplexing oversights of The Tribe, The Thirst reunites Corey Feldman with Jamison Newlander, reprising their roles as Edgar and Alan Frog, respectively. In the original film the characters were self-stylized vampire hunters in their own minds, but comically unprepared to actually battle the creatures in real-life. Now, over twenty years later, the Frog brothers are legit vampire hunters. The film opens in Washington, D.C., with the Frog Bros fighting vamps on Capital Hill. During the battle, Allen becomes bit and vampirized, but escapes into night. Now, years later, a grumpy and world-weary Edgar has given up vampire hunting. Of course, when a sexy Brit, Gwen (Emily Blunt DNA theft, Tanit Phoenix) shows up, asking for Edgar’s help and offering him boatloads of cash, Edgar decides to suit up again. A vampire named DJ X (Seb Castang) has developed a new party drug called “the thirst,” which instantly turns those who take it into vampires. Edgar must infiltrate a rave DJ X is hosting before X can make a new army. Edgar’s team is made up of Gwen; Zoe (Casey B. Dolan), a comic book clerk with the hots for Edgar; Lars, a Bear Grylls-like reality star, and Lars’ cameraman. Vampire Alan even shows up to help (the two brothers have a rocky but non-violent relationship now). Staking and one-liners ensue.
The Tribe’s biggest problem (aside from being poorly done) was that it didn’t have an interesting new take on the characters or concept, and it didn’t pull the mythology in a new direction, or in any direction really. The Thirst at least pulls things in a new direction. Actually the film almost feels like the TV-movie pilot to a new Supernatural knock-off SyFy series about the Frog Brothers.
Director Dario Piana (The Deaths of Ian Stone) competently handles the material, though never really adds any flare. Some of this is likely from budgetary constraints, but lack of flare is a characteristic downside to the whole film. When the first Lost Boys came out, its vampires seemed fresh, original. The Tribe has no such feeling. I was prepared for the vampires to seem reminiscent of the original, but not for the typical Eurotrash dance party vamps we see in everything else. In fact, everything involving the vampires is pretty boring. There is one fun scene where Edgar and Zoe go to visit Edgar’s weapon
maker buddy. Then when vampires attack we get to see
some entertaining weaponry on display. Other than this most of the vampire scenes feel kind of perfunctory.
How much you do or don’t enjoy the film will likely depend on how you take Corey Feldman’s bizarre performance as Edgar, as he’s pretty much the whole show here. For about the first fifteen or so minutes of the film I couldn’t stomach Feldman’s performance. I found myself stifling giggles sitting in the Warner Bros screening room. For one thing, he looks utterly ridiculous. He’s supposed to be a badass tough guy, but, well, he’s Corey Feldman, and Feldman didn’t exactly pump any iron in preparation for the part. On top of this, Feldman lowers his voice to a guttural, toad-like croak (fitting for a Frog I guess), and delivers every line with a Man With No Name brusque intonation. Yet, somehow he eventually sucked me in. It was a scene where we learn that Gwen is the author of a Twilight-like vampire book series. Edgar refers to her books as bodice rippers, but he pronounces bodice “bo-dice.” I have no idea why this turned me, but it did. From this point on I felt in on the joke. I don’t know that Feldman necessarily meant everything he did as Edgar as a joke, but either way, I got into it.
The Frogs are the only good thing about this film. The most interesting scenes are when they are together, which is unfortunately spread out. Edgar’s pack of tagalongs are pretty uniformly lousy. Lars and his cameraman in particular bothered me. They shouldn’t even be in the movie. Nothing about the character of Lars makes sense, even in a humorous way. Gwen hires Lars after Edgar briefly turns her down, but for some reason he stays on even after Edgar shows up. We are never given a proper introduction to Lars either. We’re told he’s a big reality TV star, but we don’t get to see any footage of his show, not even any ads. Also, Lars thinks the DJ X mission is some reality gimmick, that people are going to be dressed as vampires and play acting for his sake. Why he thinks this is maybe not a big deal. Why he is allowed to come along to fight real vampires when it is clear this is what he thinks is kind of a big deal. It’s these sorts of dopey moments that make the movie feel almost My Name Is Bruce-esque, which becomes problematic when the film wants to be taken seriously.
Fans of the Coreys may be happy to know that the film is a memorial to Corey Haim. The Thirst is riddled with flashbacks utilizing clips from the first film, showing the Frogs interacting with Haim’s character, and there is running motif involving Batman #4 (the comic), which was mentioned in the first film. These flashbacks aren’t as bad as they sound, and they at least help make this film what The Tribe wasn’t, a real sequel.
Ultimately I don’t know that this film will be very satisfactory to anyone who isn’t a huge Lost Boys fan. It’s not much of a horror movie, and only about half of the comedy really lands appropriately. The film’s ending positions itself to take the franchise in an even heavier Frogs Bros direction in the next installment. It all feels so close to being a TV show that they might as well make the leap. If Blade can get a TV show, why not the Frog Bros.