Review

Review

FEARNET Movie Review: 'The Thompsons'

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I may have been a little too tough on the 2007 indie vampire flick The Hamiltons. Reviewing it for another website, I said this: "Feeling more like an angsty indie drama than any sort of horrific piece of cinema, the movie is jam-packed with all the things that make 'homemade' movies so irritating: Clumsy screenwriting, wooden acting, and a sense of self-importance run rampant throughout The Hamiltons. Not even the few moments of grim humor and bloodletting can salvage the flick's leaden pacing and overbaked narrative."

Yikes. Pretty rough. And then once co-directors Mitch Altieri and Phil Flores presented us with April Fools Day (2008) and The Violent Kind (2010), I figured I would just leave the "Butcher Brothers" to their fans and focus on indie horror films I actually enjoyed.
 
So here's some good news for all involved: The Thompsons (aka The Hamiltons Part 2, although you need not have seen (or liked!) that flick to enjoy this one) is not only the Butcher Bros best film yet (by a long shot), but it also has me hoping they'll stick with the premise and wrap everything up with a nice, gory Chapter III. The co-directors and their collaborators seem to have read the criticisms of the first film, listened to some and ignored others, and decided to ramp up the stakes, the tension, and the energy in an appreciable fashion.
 
Our anti-heroes are a group of five sorta-vampire siblings who are on the run after the bloodbath that took place in the first film; after splitting up for strategic reasons, the "Thompsons" are reunited when young Francis (Cory Knauf) discovers a British estate full of similarly-afflicted sorta-vampires. (The vampiric "wrinkle" in these two movies is that, while our protagonists have fangs and need blood to live, they are not affected by things like sunlight, garlic, or crosses -- just unhappy humans with a literal need for other peoples' blood.)
 
The 82-minute mash-up of horror, melodrama, and dark comedy doesn't slow down in one place too often, and newcomer Elizabeth Henstridge (as Francis' conflicted love interest) adds a nice dash of strange sweetness to a movie that's, of course, rather bloody and brutal. The new "Brit" vamps are a colorful lot, and the actors returning to play our bloodthirsty anti-heroes are clearly having some fun with their roles. If The Thompsons offers an unnecessarily fractured narrative approach in the early going, and perhaps a bit too much voice-over narration on the whole, I'd still consider it a marked improvement over The Hamiltons in virtually all other regards. As a guy who didn't much care for Part 1, I was pleased with how quickly I took to Part 2.
 
And don't listen to the DVD cover. I liked the movie, but calling it "Twilight Meets Tarantino" is sort of ridiculous.
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