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Bloodthirst (2023) Review

Bloodthirst is from the folks at Mahal Empire, last year they gave us their version of the zombie apocalypse, Bridge of the Doomed. This year they’re revisiting the apocalypse, only in Bloodthirst the threat comes from a different strain of the undead, vampires. Interestingly, both films were directed by Michael Su (2025 Armageddon, Death Count) and written by Adrian Milnes (Bermuda Island, Adrenaline) this time with a story credit to Massimiliano Cerchi (Holy Terror, Lockdown)

In the world of Bloodthirst two factions of vampires fight for control of what’s left of the planet. What’s left of humanity is caught in the middle and rapidly heading for extinction, something that would doom the vampires as well. John Shepard (Costas Mandylor, Dead Man’s Hand, Saw X) walks that world as a vampire hunter who’s on the trail of The Master Vampire (Robert LaSardo, Section 8, Of the Devil). He needs to kill him before he is turned into one of the undead.

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But The Master Vampire knows he’s being hunted and along with The Vampire Queen (Tara Reid, Alone in the Dark, American Pie) is working to raise an army of vampires to fight him and whatever allies he might find. And then there’s The Ultimate Vampire Master (Wesley Cannon, Puppet Master: Axis Termination, Las Vegas Frankenstein) who has his own plans for all of them, vampire and human alike.

There are also a few wild cards in play as well, including sisters Brooke (Sarah French, That’s a Wrap, Pool Boy Nightmare) and Elena (Elissa Dowling, The Electric Man, Barbie & Kendra Storm Area 51) who drive around in a hot rod shooting vampires with garlic laced shotgun shells. There’s also Torque (Bishop Stevens, Revealer, Final Summer) and his militia who care about being on the winning side, not the right one.

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All of this means that apart from fighting each other, all the various groups have their own infighting and backstabbing to deal with as well and adds a bit of uncertainty to the mix. Unfortunately, you can frequently guess who is going to turn on who by the time that the final battle occurs, and who will be on whose side for it.

While the action through the first part of the film is somewhat sporadic, the final battle does make a nice payoff with plenty going on as The Master and Shepard have their own showdown. That showdown involves Bloodthirst’s own rules about when crosses and crucifixes work or don’t work. I wish the script had better explained that instead of just glossing over it quickly and making it seem like a convenient plot device.

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Surprisingly, despite being titled Bloodthirst, this isn’t an overly gory film. There is plenty of blood, especially during the scenes of people being bitten, but don’t expect much in the way of stakings beheadings and other extreme anti-vampire measures. The vampires, apart from The Master and The Ultimate Master, are just actors with fangs and white makeup. The Ultimate Master looks like a humanoid bat and is a practical effect. For his part, The Master has some forehead prosthetics that suggest he’s beginning his own transformation.

Overall, Bloodthirst is an enjoyable mashup of genres that makes good use of its desert setting, with Su acting as his own cinematographer and using the isolation and frequent night shots to build some atmosphere. The film actually pulls quite a bit of production value from a low budget and good performances by several familiar faces, including Lasardo in the kind of role he should play more often. The result is a solid choice for a weekend watch.

Lionsgate will release Bloodthirst to Digital and VOD Platforms as well as on DVD as a Halloween treat on October 31st. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

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