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Thirst (2009)

  Tags: Asian Horror, blood, Chan-wook Park, CJ Entertainment, drama, Focus Features, Kang-ho Song, korean, romance, south korea, thirst, thriller, Universal Pictures, vamps

Your rating: None Average: 6.7 (9 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

thirstdvd.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Chan-wook Park
Runtime: 
133 minutes
Cast: 
Song Kang Ho, Kim Ok Bin, Mercedes Cabra, Sin Ha-gyoon, Kim Hae-sook


Acclaimed South Korean director Chan-wook Park makes his genre debut with Thirst, a film that I've been anxiously awaiting since I first heard about it. Many are probably already aware of Park's work with the "Vengeance Trilogy" or more specifically Oldboy -- the second installment in his trilogy. Being a huge fan of the director and South Korean cinema in general, I expected that we wouldn't get a standard genre effort and I was right. Although a vampire flick, there are so many more layers in the film that cross over to Drama and Romance, so those looking for a cliched vamp feature need to look somewhere else.

So the story follows a priest who travels to a small clinic that's experimenting with a cure for a deadly new disease. The failed experiment causes his death, but also his miraculous return to life, and discovery that he's now a vampire. Now considered a local saint and healer, believers praise him and ask for his healing abilities for their sick families. However, as he becomes more accustomed to his new found abilities and seemingly unquenchable thirst for blood, the once devoted priest now questions his faith and willingness to help mankind. The film also gets more complicated when the priest begins a sexual relationship with a married woman, whom he grew up with before his priesthood.

As I said before, this is a flick with many layers to it. More of a character driven flick, we're also thrown in strange dream sequences that make you question what they mean towards the story and the characters. In regular Chan-wook Park fashion, we're also given a lot of deviant behavior and a slow, but interest pace throughout the movie. I was never bored by the movie, but I was confused at times by some of the strange and seemingly random scenes, especially towards the end.

Although clearly a vampire, we're never actually shown fangs. In fact, a sewing tool is used as a weapon and causes two distinct puncture wounds on the victims, which obviously act as a symbol to the missing fangs. As expected, the movie is beautifully shot and well acted, especially from lead Kang-ho Song, who plays the priest and is personally one of my favorite Korean actors. There's not much as far as gore goes, but the flick offers a decent amount of blood and a couple cool death sequences -- one particular scene that stands out involves a man getting his neck snapped backwards after getting violently struck in the throat; awesome!

A good flick if you know what you're getting. This isn't your standard vampire tale, as writer/director Chan-wook Park gives us a film with many layers to it, and is more of a character driven drama than anything else. It doesn't actually become a more familiar genre effort until towards the end. Worth a check if you're familiar with Korean cinema or Park's work or maybe if you just want more of a thinker vampire flick than what we're being delivered from Hollywood now-a-days.

Posted on November 15, 2009 - 7:43pm | FrighT MasteR

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