Personally, I went in to The Thompsons relatively cold, having heard of its big brother, but never having caught up with it. In doing so, I felt like I had jumped onto a sitcom in its second or third week: I could immediately get into its groove without knowing the backgrounds of the players. All in due time.

By its nature, this belated follow-up feels like those special Brady Bunch two-parters that took the whole family to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon, because here, the all-American Hamilton vampire clan — composed of four adults and one teen, always on the go — leap the Atlantic Ocean to jolly ol’ England looking for their limey counterparts. They find ’em, all right, with capital-T trouble attached.

The exercise is definitely more True Blood than Twilight, which means viewers can expect a lot of sex, violence and profanity — after all, the film is written and directed by guys who credit themselves as The Butcher Brothers.

It’s also well-done. While unspectacular, the film is fun while it lasts. Arguably, those Butcher Brothers have saddled themselves with too many characters, giving this a middle-chapter-of-a-trilogy film, but remember: There’s a good chance some will be dispatched along the way. The Hamiltons are more or less led by Francis (Cory Knauf, whose narration sounds so much like Adam Scott, it’s distracting), whose instant-lust romance with a British pub waitress (Elizabeth Henstridge) is one of the brighter subplots.

Vampire flicks number many these days, especially those that skip theaters, intentionally or otherwise. The Thompsons is one of them, but possesses far more care and effort than your average bloodsucker story — and especially your below-average bloodsucker story, which exists only as a cash-sucker. Fans of the fanged should give this one a try. —Rod Lott


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