You may encounter True Bloodthirst on DVD under a bunch of different titles, like Vampire Nation, for example, or Nightbreakers. If some of these titles seem to you like a rip-off from other vampire franchises, it may come as no surprise to you to learn that several plot elements have been nicked as well….
Detective Derricks is an American police officer working for the United Nations Department of Vampyre Relations in Bucharest, Romania. Ten years ago, the public learned that vampires are real, not mythical, and relations between humans and vampires have recently deteriorated rapidly. Vampires are now mostly confined to a closed-off part of Bucharest called “Sector 5”.
Detective Derricks is a bit of a dick who treats vampires like garbage. And his colleagues are no better than him. But when an unknown creature threatens the lives of vampires and humans alike, Derricks has no choice but to work with people he would rather avoid: vampires, as well as vigilante vampire hunters he recruits from prison. Needless to say, this is a rather uneasy partnership, and allegiances shift quickly…..
As you can see, there is the “coming-out” and “co-existence” plot element known from other films but most prominently from the True Blood novels and TV show. The idea of a synthetic blood substitute is also nothing new, and the human-vampire cop team has been done before as well (in 2001’s The Breed). The most blatantly plagiarised element seems to be that of “Sector 5”, which copies the ideas from Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, including the vox pop elements.
There are also elements that are reminiscent of Blade II and of Daybreakers, references to Vlad the Impaler, and a distant homage to Bram Stoker by naming the vampire hunter “Harker”.
But, as they say, if you have to steal, steal from the best, and the team behind True Bloodthirst did do quite a good job in cobbling together a halfway decent plot.
Like most B-movies, this film has its shortcomings. There are some minor plot holes and inconsistencies, the special effects are mostly appalling, and there is more than one clunky line of dialogue. Also, the arc of suspense is not perfect, as the film seems to have two halves, which both have their own arc. The film also has too many turns near the end and so fizzles out a bit.
For the most part, however, this film is rather fast-paced, and it is surprisingly entertaining. There is a smidgen of humour in this film, mostly well-placed and well-executed. The film team has scouted some gorgeous locations – I am a fan of these large abandoned industrial complexes (like they used in Prowl as well). The sets and costumes are also fine. And there is some really decent camera work here. I am sure the production company did not exactly spend a fortune on this Bulgaria-based film project, but they certainly did get good value for money.
The film also has a better cast and better performances than some other productions farmed out to Eastern European tend to have. There are a number of good actors in True Bloodthirst giving decent performances.
Neil Jackson (Derricks) and Andrew Lee Potts (Harker) play the two male leads in roles different enough to not get in each other’s way. There are major supporting performances by Roark Critchlow, Heida Reed and Claudia Bassols; and by Ben Lambert, whose vampire character may be one of the most enjoyable things about this film. Smaller roles by Jonathon Hargreaves and Ewan Bailey complete the core cast.
As I said, I found myself reasonably entertained and I believe this film is superior to many other cheap B-movie productions of the same type. This is also reflected, I believe, in the film’s imdb-rating of 4.1 – whereas most such films commonly rank somewhere between 2.1 and 2.7.
Personally, I’d rate this film at 5 out of 10, and am prepared to recommend it to anyone who wants to invest 81 minutes into a decent and undemanding B-movie telling a middle-of the-road story.