Lacey Chabert has a voice that could drive a man to kill.
It’s at once high-pitched and gravelly, like Mickey Mouse with throat cancer, or Peppermint Patty sucking on a tank of helium. She’s a gorgeous gal, with an absolutely killer body, but when she opens her mouth and I get the urge to smash things, so, for me, listening to her squeak her way through just about anything is akin to being strapped to a chair while a dragon lady scrapes her nails across a chalkboard whilst biting a fork and rubbing two pieces of Styrofoam together between her knees.
I’d like to say that Chabert (who also serves as executive producer) is the worst thing about the mostly-miserable-yet-strangely-watchable survival horror/drama, “Thirst”, but, alas, she is but a fraction of all that is wrong with this film.
Chabert stars as Noelle, a young doctor-in-training who joins her boyfriend, Bryan (Tygh Runyan), and Bryan’s best friend, Tyson (Brandon Quinn), on a trek into the desert where Tyson plans to photograph his model/girlfriend, Atheria (Mercedes McNab). Noelle has recently learned she is pregnant, and hasn’t yet told Bryan, who just assumes she is consumed with her studies and deliberately sabotaging their vacation.
The bickering continues when Tyson suggests they drive out to a remote part of the desert to shoot photos. Noelle’s experiencing morning sickness and wants to wait back at the motel, but Bryan guilts her into coming along, and, ultimately, Noelle gives in despite her better judgment. Several hours later, they’re miles away from civilization, when swerving to avoid a pesky wolf, Tyson drives their vehicle into a ditch, injuring Atheria in the process. Now, stranded in uncharted territory with just a few bottles of water and a suitcase full of silk panties, our quartet must brave the elements if they are to survive.
Thirst is a classic example of film-as-traffic-accident; it’s a horrible thing to see, but impossible to look away from. I credit this to the movie’s many unintentionally hilarious moments, chief amongst them being the scene in which Noelle struts her med-school knowledge, and, with the help of her ever-present textbook, performs cranial surgery with a rock and a screwdriver to relieve the pressure of a subdural hematoma. Just hearing Chabert chirp the words “subdural hematoma” had me laughing out loud, but it’s McNab’s gut-busting interpretation of a seizure that had me rolling on the floor. It’s like watching an episode of “E.R.” as performed by an elementary school theater group.
The rest of the film consists of montages of our survivors shuffling through the desert accompanied by flamenco guitar flourishes and survival tips presented with all of the subtlety of an episode of Man vs. Wild. There are the obligatory moments of selfishness canceled out by pointless acts of selflessness, “heart-wrenching” campfire confessionals, and even some mystical bits revolving around an erudite wolf and fever dreams of breast implants. It’s all so remarkably silly – so thoroughly misguided and inept, that I couldn’t help but see it through to its predictably bland and unnecessarily tragic conclusion, and, to be quite honest, I was entertained, even if it was for all of the wrong reasons.
Thirst comes to DVD courtesy of First Look Pictures. The transfer’s a bit dodgy at times, with the occasional bout of venetian blinds and excess grain, but, for the most part, it looks pretty good, especially the admittedly gorgeous scenery. From what I can figure out, the film was shot in British Columbia, so it gets bonus points for making me aware of the existence of deserts in Canada. The 5.1 soundtrack is fairly pedestrian, but it gets the job done with solid bass and clear dialogue.
As for extras, well, this is a frills-free affair, with nary a bonus feature to be found save for some trailers for other First Look releases. Then again, I didn’t have to keep the film in my DVD player any longer than I had to, so that’s a bit of a bonus unto itself.