Following its exciting, intriguing pilot episode and extended prologue, From Dusk till Dawn hits the road. On the run from pissed off lawman Freddie Gonzalez, the bickering Gecko brothers make for the Mexican border, bank teller hostage in tow. Added to the mix is the mixed-up Fuller family, headed in the same direction and soon to collide painfully with Seth and Richie.
As with its pilot, there’s equal parts familiar and new to this second episode of From Dusk till Dawn. The Fuller family, while played by different actors from the 1996 original, are instantly recognisable. There’s Robert Patrick in the Harvey Keitel role as dad Jacob, Madison Davenport as hot daughter Kate, and Brandon Soo Hoo as the geeky son. On an impromptu RV roadtrip following their mother’s death, the Fullers pull over at a quiet, dusty motel for the night. The Geckos, meanwhile, are headed in much the same direction…
As with the opening episode’s liquor store hold-up, there’s a sense of decompression to events. Flashbacks to the Geckos’ bank heist give us more room to get to know Seth and Richie, although this isn’t always for the better. Seth, for instance, loses a great deal of the edginess which made him such a compelling character in the movie as he converses casually with a hostage while Richie busies himself cracking a safe. Richie, meanwhile, is made a less interesting psychopath as he begins to see visions and whispers of what is to come, hinting at the vampirism which lies waiting for them at the Titty Twister bar. Likewise, those glimpses we get of the series’ vampires (including one full-on vamp attack) can’t help but miss the point of what made the original Dusk till Dawn so great – its abrupt change of genre.
Not enough time is spent with the Fullers to tell how they compare to the original lot. Unfavourably, would be the less fair prediction, given the step down in quality of actor. Patrick, so good in Terminator 2, looks surprisingly schlubby here, although he does have the chops to potentially make the role his own. Not so Madison Davenport, a more conventional personality than the wonderful Juliette Lewis, lacking the actress’s unique charm. Soo Hoo isn’t given much of anything to do, but he deals with what material he is given just fine. Of the new stuff, there’s the growing obsession of Gonzalez, Kate’s Christian boyfriend and a vampire hitch-hiker. There’s a bank teller too, but she spends the whole episode bound and gagged in the trunk of the brothers’ car.
Blood Runs Thick is a decent, if unambitious second episode of this fledgling adaptation. So far, it seems content with merely replaying the film’s story at a much slower pace, trying to make us like Seth and Richie more. That’s fine, but I can’t help but feel disappointed at the lack of dynamism here. I may have praised the pilot for not straying too far from the course, but I do hope that the series tries to do a little more of its own thing soon. From Dusk till Dawn is still cool, but, as with unhinged brother Richie’s mind, the cracks are beginning to show.