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Belittling Horror Excessively: Thirst02:02 PM -- Sun October 29, 2017

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

Thirst (2015)
Not Rated
IMDB Says:
“When a group of wayward teens arrive at a desert boot camp, with no communication, and nowhere to run to, they realize their only chance for survival is to fight for their lives.”
IMDB Rating: 4.4/10
Metacritic Rating: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A critics, N/A audience
Solee: 2/5
Mikey: 1.5/5
We watched this on Amazon Prime.

Mikey: So, it seems that you wanted to ensure we didn’t go too crazy with the good movies, and you pointed us to Thirst. Success?

Solee: Thirst is not a great movie. But it IS a great movie to laugh at. It hits a lot of my favorite ridiculous horror moments. So I consider that a success.

Mikey: It also hits the “sci-fi” button on our checklist, at this point leaving “first person”, “musical”, and “courtroom drama” all we’re missing for the month. Sure hope we can find a first-person musical courtroom drama horror movie for one of our next two.

Solee: I’m sure that would be a quality film. Since you brought up the alien … let’s discuss it. Is this alien scary? Original?

Mikey: Definitely NOT scary. I think it’s pretty original though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an alien land on earth that turned out to be a cyborg. This one is about 80% robot. And no explanation ever given, no info about him at all, just cyborg alien lands and starts eating. And has a baby on board. Which I’m actually cool with - I don’t think we need to have a Scientist Character who magically explains just what the alien is about. My big issue with the alien is the fact that its “thirst” did NOT MATTER. It could’ve been stabbing people, or burning them, or anything else, and it would be the exact same plot. I needed this movie about people in the desert to have some thematic thirst involved. I put a hint to the screenwriters in italics there...

Solee: There are so many ways they could have gone with that too, as thirst can be just about any deep desire, metaphorically. They weren’t thinking metaphorically with this movie. It was all very literal. We DID have a couple of pseudo-scientists, though. Remember how Nerdy Kid and Girl Crush simultaneously realized that there was some kind of static electricity thing happening? SCIENCE!

Mikey: Yeah, they were ridiculous MacGyver people out of the blue. Even though they had no smarts at all for the first half of the movie. And then they created an electro-explodo deathtrap for the monster. Oh, and pipe bombs, made offscreen in minutes, just “surprise, here’s some pipe bombs!” Wow. Way to go Luis. Courtney on the other hand didn’t even know how a shotgun worked and resolutely refused to learn.

Okay, so what did you think about the whole Second Chances system, since you’re a teacher of defiant children yourself?

Solee: Oh, I taught small defiant children. Or the occasional solitary tall one. I don’t do groups of tall defiant children. Too scary. I did NOT like their approach to “reprogramming” these kids though. There were glimpses of good strategy, but for the most part it was all “I’m bigger than you so you better straighten up” which NEVER works. That being said, it was sadly realistic. I believe that there are programs just like this out there, taking broken, traumatized children and breaking them even further. Those kids needed to visit Discovery Horse! They needed CONNECTION, not whatever the heck Second Chances was trying to do.

Mikey: So the confusion I had, which you may be able to explain, is what incentive did these kids have to obey anything they were told? I don’t feel like these people held any power over them except “you better do what I say!” Or perhaps the fact they’d be left to die in the desert.

Solee: You’re exactly right. The entire program was based on fear and threats. Not the foundation for a successful program for troubled teens. As evidenced by the fact that none of those kids made any progress until after BossyPants Counselor and Meathead Guide were dead.

Mikey: So you’re saying the alien is part of the program? They just chew through a couple of counselors each session. Maybe they rehydrate them for next time.

Solee: They are ACT-TORS! I don’t think the alien was a planned part of the program, no. But I do think that facing the alien (certain death) was more helpful in their growth than being forced into the desert with strangers. Even the alien couldn’t rehabilitate some of those kids though. This movie had an irredeemably bad character, just like Train to Busan. Trapper was just a nasty person through and through. Even the alien didn’t want to eat him. Just killed him.

Mikey: I made a note of that! Nobody wants to drink Trapper. Now that you mention Busan, I have to discuss that. The start of this movie had me bored out of my mind. It was introducing characters, they were going on their hike, bickering and being petty and stupid. And I was like, I get it. I see the character traits you are showing me. You contrast that with Train To Busan, where they managed to quickly introduce a dozen characters and you got a feel for their personality in moments. We didn’t have to spend half the train ride watching each one call their family and discuss a personal issue to understand how they worked. It’s just infinitely better filmmaking!

Solee: Infinitely better writing, for sure. I just read an article about the importance of inner conflict and growth as well as outer conflict in creating a story people want to experience. This movie was definitely lacking in the inner conflict and all the ridiculously fake explosions in the world weren’t going to make up for the fact that our characters didn’t grow. Except for Roth. I think Roth had a bit of an arc.

Mikey: I think the writers spent all of their time on him. It was certainly his movie. Which reminds me of his uncle Burt - we got a little talk about how he was an MMA fighter, and angst over having killed a man in the ring, and so he’s trying to get out from under th- BAM HE’S DEAD. Royally missed opportunity, right?

Solee: Totally. Especially since we learned all this about his past--he killed a guy in the ring, he’s being sued for assaulting a minor on a previous trip--and he’s STILL doing all that crap right up to the point that the alien sticks a straw in him. Yes, he saves Trapper right before he dies … but that’s not enough to show anything. That could have been pure instinct. I wanted to see that he had done these things in the past, but since then he’s started his own counseling and has dealt with some of his own past traumas and has learned to connect with the kids on a meaningful level during these trips, but The Man doesn’t know it yet so he’s still got this bad reputation. THEN have him sacrifice himself to save the kid. And THEN have the kid actually learn something from the fact that he’s met an adult who listened, connected and put his own life on the line to protect him. THAT’S a Second Chances trip!! It’s COMPELLING!

Mikey: And I just wanted to see him put the alien in a headlock. But no, we can’t have nice things. One other thing that got to me throughout the movie was that somebody would die, and then a minute later, everybody is smiling and laughing about something. Even Burt’s WIFE didn’t care he was dead after the first scene they told her. They have no object permanence, they’re like Busan zombies.

Solee: My final note as credits rolled? How Roth ended the movie: “Sure, my whole family and everyone I knew died, but I have a new girlfriend who only got chewed on by an alien a little bit, so it’s all good!” Super weird how there were no real emotions in this movie. I wonder what that says about the folks that wrote and directed it.

Mikey: Speaking of her, seems like the chewing was not a big deal, which is really weird. Perfectly healthy after a baby alien has been gnawing on your sternum for an hour or two. But anyway, why was the giant two-ton mechanical alien so sneaky?! It could pop up five feet away undetected. And then of course go on a noisy rampage with no stealth whatsoever. I feel like they should’ve included a cloaking device scene to explain this. Just have it fade in when it pops up.

Solee: Maybe it was malfunctioning? I know we’ve ripped on the plot a lot here, but there’s one more thing I HAVE to mention. When Roth and the kids get back to the base camp and the helicopter pilot is there, Roth gets SUPER defensive and yells, “We didn’t kill her!” even though the pilot has done nothing to suggest that they had and it’s obvious that she’s been mauled by some kind of wild animal. What was up with Roth? Why does he feel so guilty? WHAT IS HE HIDING??

Mikey: That’s the moment the movie really needed to twist - unreliable narrator, no alien, they killed them all, and the pilot is next. I don’t even know how that plot would make sense, yet somehow it would still be more compelling.

Solee: YES! Oh, well.

Mikey: Well, do you have more to discuss? I could point out the crazy technobabble that suddenly spurted from these otherwise ordinary teens at one point, but I just did, so I am done!

Solee: I could point out that the alien was able to chase down a pick-up truck, but unable to catch a four-wheeler, but I kinda feel like I’m kicking this movie after we already have it curled up in a ball on the asphalt. Ratings?

Mikey: Ratings! The trick with this movie is that it’s a total SyFy Original Movie (probably not actually, it’s more of a style than a reality), but it just doesn’t have the fun and self-awareness of a lot of those. It feels like it’s trying to be good, and that’s just a little sad rather than funny. I think that puts it on par with last year’s Behemoth, which suffered from a similar problem, though frankly had more silly fun to it, but this was higher-quality in real movie terms. So it’s another 1.5 out of 5 from me. How about you?

Solee: I think I enjoyed making fun of this movie a little more than you did. I agree that it is taking itself too seriously, but sometimes that’s where the fun is. (I realize that I’m not a very nice person as I’m saying this.) They are just so oblivious to how off it all is from where they were aiming. The story was super broken and the characters both under- and over-developed. But I do enjoy a hugely overdone CGI explosion. So … I guess I’m going to give it a 2. This is the kind of movie I would watch with the nieces and nephews so we can laugh about it together.

Mikey: Yep, that’s exactly how I was thinking of viewing it! But I thought it would be much more boring for us than the unbelievably amazing Land Shark, which is highly recommended viewing if this is your category! Also if you are a fan of eyebrows.

Solee: And very scientific things like charts and counting. I *heart* Land Shark so much! I know we’re not seeing that tomorrow … so what are we seeing?

Mikey: Now I’m sad we’re not seeing that. Please everyone, go watch it now! It’s on Amazon Prime. But we are relegated to The Sacrament, a found-footage cult movie!

Solee: Awesome!
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