Thirst (Park Chan Wook, 2009)
Plot: A failed medical experiment turns a man of faith into a vampire.
Having enjoyed everyone of Park Chan Wook's films so far I was confident that I would enjoy his most recent offering 'Thirst', his first venture into the 'Horror' genre.
I must say that when i heard Park's next film would be a vampire film it failed to get me excited, as the world has already gone vamp mad I thought that Korea's most praised filmmaker would have gone another route while the popular 'Twilight ' saga continues and HBO's 'Trueblood' is becoming more widely known.
Not that I will compare the two but 'Thirst' did not overwhelm me like 'Let the right one in' did, nor did it have the emotional punch of 'Oldboy', or the raw brutality of 'Mr Vengeance'. What 'Thirst' is however is a truly original take on the vampire genre just like like Del Toro's 'Cronos' was. It is a film so full of themes and emotions, symbolism and mythology that a second viewing is a must if one wants to get the most out of what it has to offer.
Like all of Park Chan Wook's films, we are shown mundane everyday acts in entirely new ways. In 'Thirst' many scenes walk a thin rope between horrific and hilarious to the point that you're not sure what to feel, whether that is a good thing is up to the individual to decide. I'd be lying if i said the film didn't drag towards the end, the film sets up an interesting concept of a catholic man fighting bloody temptation as he turns vampiric, the problem is that the long running time just doesn't support it as it becomes all too clear the film has no 'real' plot.
It is a film about a doomed romance, faith, temptation, and the consequences of ones' actions, the film has no real structure or climax but acts more as a journey exploring the faults and desires of the human condition using the vampire myth as a means to do so... andthe films does it very well.
A part from a ridiculous scene in which the two main vampire lovers jump from roof to roof at night in true CGI fashion, the film is hard to fault and well worth another look.
Not Park's best but a very interesting film none the less. The idea of a catholic priest fighting bloody temptation is played out very well and explores the mythology of the vampire like you've never seen it before.
'Thirst' is not for everyone but if you've enjoyed any of Park Chan Wook's previous films then give this one a go too!