The Thompsons is a 2012 horror film directed by the Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) and is actually a sequel to the Butcher Brothers' previous film The Hamiltons.
The family is on the run and have taken to the road first of all in sequences set in Texas and Paris before the bulk of the story brings Francis (Cory Knauf) to rural England in search of others of his kind, which leads to a hook-up with the more confident, callous and well- established vampire clan, the Stuarts, led by the local patriarch (Daniel O'Meara) and his wife (Selina Giles).
Complications arise which involve the Stuarts' human-born daughter (Elizabeth Henstridge) and murderous twin sons (Sean Browne and Tom Holloway) which eventually bring in Francis's twin siblings, David (Samuel Child) and Darkene (Mackenzie Firgens), plus injured younger brother Lenny (Ryan Hartwig), whose role has changed radically since the first film.
What I liked in the first film, but I can talk about more this time round since this is the sequel and people should know what to expect, is that whilst the family are basically vampires, they are certainly no ordinary strain of vampire as they have not been turned. In a world where vampires procreate, they were born with a disease which left them blood thirsty killers. Killers that can set foot in daylight but are also just as susceptible to pain and death as anyone else. I felt this was a cool way of integrating something different into the world, and it works well here.
The film begins and continues in the same vein as the first, with the narration coming from Cory Knauf who was the highlight in the original film. He is even better here, and as well as being the main character in The Thompsons, he also had a hand in writing the screenplay. The narration works well, and I really enjoyed the 'time shifts' as we keep going back and forth via flashbacks which brings us up to date on what has happened in the 6 years since The Hamiltons was released.
The Thompsons is far glossier than the original and it has to shift our attitudes towards the family to make the film work. This is definitely a positive, as aside from one they were distinctly unlikable in the original movie. It plays much more like a thriller here, unlike The Hamiltons which was light on blood and tension. This time round we have vampire battles, blood and guts a-plenty and a family we find ourselves rooting for rather than railing against. Definitely how a sequel should be, and this certainly was an improvement in every way.
The Thompsons is a fast-paced, beautifully shot, fun and violent film with good performances from all the cast, including a star turn from Knauf, that relies more on the style than the substance. It's also nice to see everyone returning from the first movie, and whilst they have changed physically in the 6 years, character wise they are still the same but ultimately all pull together as families should. Whilst the dialogue at points is a little weak (and slightly stereotypical to how us people in Great Britain speak in a Dick Van Dyke movie) and the storyline is fairly simple, I was stunned by how good this film was considering it had been 6 years since the first film, and essentially it's a low-budget vampire film.
I would love to see a part 3 to this story, and hopefully Knauf is involved with the writing again as this movie improved on the original in every way. I definitely recommend this if you like your films fun and bloody, and if you can look past a couple of weak story aspects and dodgy accents then The Thompsons comes highly recommended. Try and watch part 1 of this series The Hamiltons first if possible though!
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