As a huge fan of both Oldboy (2003) and Stoker (2013), director Park Chan-Wook is a director whose other films I have always wanted to explore and I finally did so in watching his 2009 vampire flick Thirst.

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The film is as expected wonderfully crafted with a great story that really adds something new to a vampire-love story. The film begins with a priest who feeling he is not doing enough to help others volunteers for a medical experiment. The experiment goes wrong and the priest becomes a vampire and suddenly has urges for sex, murder and blood which he has never been aware of before.

 

As time passes the priest succumbs to sex and falls in love with Tae-Ju, a beautiful girl trapped inside a loveless marriage. This relationship is what forms the rest of the film as they both try to figure out a way to be happy. At this point I must, alas, bring up the dreaded comparison to Twilight (2008). There is not much of a comparison really over than the base story of a girl falling in love with a vampire who doesn’t/doesn’t want to feast on humans. Whereas Bella (the lead female in Twilight) seems to find her lovers vampire characteristics ridiculously attractive, Tae-Ju is a much more rational character and spends a good portion of time freaking out and trying to decide what to do and it is lovely to see that.

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Thirst is a film of many levels and I imagine re-watching it would bring up much more in terms of under-the-surface motives and imagery than a first watch. For the film is full of imagery and references to a variety of things including the obvious – death, sex, religion – and some more random ones – Mahjong and water for example. These images work really well together although at times the film is a little over-loaded and becomes difficult to follow. Particularly in the extremely informative and fast-moving opening ten minutes.

One of the best parts of the film comes from the contrast in the lead characters life between his profession and being a vampire. He is obviously a caring man as seen from the start and does not want to kill humans; however he is also hungry for blood. He therefore comes up with unique ways of gaining blood; some of which are rather disturbing; for the film is a gory one.

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I have chosen to give the film the following ratings:

Story – 5/5

Style – 4/5

Technical – 3/5

Enjoyment – 4/5

Overall the film receives a score of 8/10.