Joel Schumacher's 1987 cult classic "The Lost Boys" is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. Firmly rooted in the 80s time period, it's a fun film to revisit for a number of reasons. Kiefer Sutherland delivers a great performance as the film's villain David, the Two Corey's meet for the first time in a motion picture, and Tim Capello, clad in leather pants and a chain necklace, steals the entire film with live sax performance that has become the stuff of legend, inspiring a recent SNL spoof with Jon Hamm. However, with nostalgia often comes the dismal remake or sequel. 2007's "Lost Boys: The Tribe" is a horrific disaster in all categories, poorly rehashing the original film, down to enlisting Keifer's brother Angus as the head villain and even getting a cheap knock-off for a Sax Man cameo. The worst is a tired performance from Corey Feldman reprising his role as vampire hunter Edgar Frog and a sad cameo from Corey Haim during the credits. Not satisfied with the epic failure of "The Tribe" Warner allowed a third film in the "Lost Boys" saga to be commissioned and thus we get "The Lost Boys: The Thirst."
The good news is "The Thirst" is light years beyond "The Tribe," but that' still not saying much. The movie rests firmly on the shoulders of Feldman, once again filling the shoes of Edgar Frog. Marketing for the film hyped up the return of Jamison Newlander as Edgar's brother Alan, and while it's true the Frog Brothers do return to action, their total screen time together barely breaks double digits. The film begins with a flashback of Edgar and Alan storming the mansion of a vampiric Senator, resulting in Alan inadvertently drinking vampire blood and left a half-vampire.
In the present day, Edgar is struggling to make ends meet, selling his comic collection and remaining completely oblivious to the crush the comic shop owner, ZoŽ (Casey B. Dolan) has on him. Once we get past some very corny attempts by Feldman to play a grown-man who still dresses, acts, and talks like a 13-year old, but with a haggard, mumbling voice, Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix) enters the picture with a job for Edgar. Her brother Peter has seem to have been captured by a group of vampires led by DJ X, who uses raves (is this 2010 or 1997, I'm really not sure) and the lure of a new designer drug called...wait for it...the Thirst. If you guessed the Thirst turns the countless hordes of brain-dead ravers into hordes of brain-dead vampires.
Despite only running 81 minutes (including credits), "The Thirst" takes quite a bit of time to get going. Evan Charnov's script feels more like a pilot for a TV show and the short runtime is just about right for a 90-minute TV episode with commercials. I'd be more convinced of that if it weren't for some strong language, random nudity, and high level of violence. What we do get though before the inevitable vampire vs. vampire hunters showdown is Edgar questioning his own will to continue killing the very thing his brother has become. Additionally, through some very awkward direct references to the original "Lost Boys" we get a rundown of why no one else from that film shows up (they even explain why Laddie is MIA) and a sad attempt at Feldman saying goodbye to his acting partner and friend Corey Haim with some flashbacks to the original film and an awkward graveside so-long. Once Feldman finds his footage as Edgar and gets back to doing what he does best, it's a serviceable journey that strives solely for average standards.
Charnov isn't content with keeping the screenplay lean-and-mean; instead he shoehorns in numerous pop-culture references that are either ham-fisted or horribly dated. A throwaway character named Johnny Trash is a lame attempt to parody gossip bloggers and Tanit Phoenix's character isn't just some woman in need of Edgar's help. She's a Stephanie Meyer parody that never goes anywhere aside from Feldman delivering some dated insults. Edgar's team eventually ends up consisting of Gwen, ZoŽ, Ira Pinkus, a reality TV star and his cameraman Claus. The performances are on par with the rest of the production, with no one acting terribly, although Feldman really feels like he's overcompensating for the shortcomings of the production and can grate on the nerves. Dario Piana's flat direction doesn't help matters, which at it's best only apes the "Blade" films in the clichťd finale. Although to be fair to Piana the filming location, South Africa never once looks like the Southern Californian town it's trying to pass as. Everything feels too confined or empty; there's never a natural feeling to any of the surroundings.
"The Lost Boys: The Thirst" is a good example of why nostalgia is best left as fond memories. As I said earlier, the original film was never a great film, but it was original and holds a rightful place in pop culture. "The Thirst" just tries way too hard to recapture that feel (including tacking on a bad cover of "Cry Little Sister" for no clear reason, aside from appealing to fans) but lacks the star power to do so and is about 20 years too late as it is. This is one solely for hardcore fans of the original (or of vampire stories) that just have to indulge their curiosity. Everyone else will be better off with a mulleted Kiefer Sutherland and Sax Man.
The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer isn't helped much by the ultra low-budget and uninspired cinematography. Detail is generally strong and colors all feel natural, however some nasty digital noise plagues a handful of exterior shots, notably in the brighter daytime sequences. With a good portion of the film taking place at night, contrast levels could have been a bit higher, as many sequences lose all detail underneath extra dark shadows.
The English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is more than serviceable. Dialogue is clear, and despite his best efforts to mumble, Feldman is still easy to understand. The musical selections give your system the biggest workout and the action heavy finale kicks things up a notch, but otherwise, it's a relatively restrained mix, largely due to the sparse action in the film. A French 5.1 track is included as well as subtitles in French, Spanish, and English for the hearing impaired.
The lone extra is a short featurette titled "The Art of Seduction: Vampire Lore." Hosted by Charisma Carpenter, it's a shockingly not terrible segment that tries to explain the fascination of vampires. Sadly the Feldman heavy extras from the Blu-Ray don't make it to DVD here.
A wholly average at best, straight-to-DVD sequel that is a marked improvement over the preceding film, but still a long ways away from the originator of the entire saga. Feldman walks the line between quirky nostalgia and tired embarrassment in a movie that cheats audiences a notable amount of the much-advertised reunion of the Frog Brothers. Rent It.