The Thompsons. Film Review


Director: The Butcher Brothers

Screenplay: The Butcher Brothers & Cory Knauf

Starring: Cory Knauf, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens, Elisabeth Henstridge

Running Time: 79 Mins

Rating: 18

Reviewed by Guy Adams

Five years ago, Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores (under their working name of The Butcher Brothers) made low-fi hit The Hamiltons, a small budget horror movie detailing a dysfunctional family-next-door who suffered from ‘a disease’ that forced them to feed on blood. It did them no end of good, playing successfully at a host of festivals and winning numerous awards.

The idea of revisiting the family was an obvious one, though this reviewer was a little concerned that a retread of the previous movie’s grimy, intimate world could offer a case of diminishing returns. Thankfully, The Butcher Brothers are not stupid filmmakers and realised that the only way a sequel would work is if the movie opened everything out and took the vampiric family in an entirely new direction.

Relocating to England, The Thompsons is far glossier than the original and if it has to shift our attitudes towards the family to make the film work (they were distinctly unlikeable in the original) then that’s no great loss.

English audiences will curl their toes a little at the script (now co-written with the film’s star, Cory Knauf) as it’s UK characters spew some terrible sub-Dick-Van-Dyke clunkers at times (‘Oh my!’) but the pace and invention make up for it, whisking us along at a speed that doesn’t give us time to look too closely.

Where The Hamiltons was grim and claustrophobic, The Thompsons is fun and breezy. Vampire battles, blood and guts a-plenty and a family we find ourselves rooting for rather than railing against. For some that shift may break what they liked about The Hamiltons  in the first place, for me it was a logical step that has produced an enjoyable sprint of a film.