Thirst (18)

Film

Horror films

722hr.fi.x491.thirst.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Oct 13 2009

Read an interview with Park here

A director’s long-gestating personal project can take many forms: a nostalgic childhood reminiscence, a remake of a well-loved classic, that treasured first script that never made it out of the drawer. For Park Chan-Wook, who single-handedly exploded the Korean film industry in the past decade with ‘JSA’ and ‘Oldboy’, it was a new twist on a generic staple: the vampire movie. But in an industry saturated with bloodsuckers, all trying to inject fresh ideas into age-old material, even the boldest filmmaker can struggle to make an impression: this year alone we’ve had frosty vampires in ‘Let the Right One In’, steamy vampires in ‘True Blood’ and teen-abstinence vampires in ‘Twilight’.
 
Park’s technique is to jettison all that’s old-fashioned and predictable in vampire lore – the fangs, the garlic, the castle on the hill – and replace them with his own personal and ethical obsessions. ‘Thirst’ is less a horror story of prowling nightstalkers than a melodrama of moral corruption: how far is it possible for a good man to fall?

Sang-hyon (Song Kang-ho) is a man seeking martyrdom, a Jesuit priest who offers himself as a sacrificial lamb to an African clinic specialising in the fatal EV virus. But as the virus takes hold and Sang-hyon breathes his last, an emergency blood transfusion brings him roaring back to life – as one of the undead. Before long, the priest is battling the kinds of cravings he’s spent a lifetime denying: female companionship and fresh meat.

‘Thirst’ is a flawed piece of work: Park’s view of his characters is cynical, at times downright nasty, and his treatment of women – who are without exception self-serving and sadistic – is dubious. The film feels overcrowded, as Park attempts to cram his narrative with enough subtext to fill a season of ‘True Blood’: the vampire as lover and murderer, paragon and parasite, saviour and Satan.

But this anything-goes attitude is also the film’s greatest asset: never allowing his audience a moment to catch their breath, Park slams scene into scene, idea into idea with dizzying intensity. Moments of exquisite tenderness are shattered by images of unspeakable horror, all overlaid with an outrageous, wonderfully distasteful seam of pitch-black humour and brute, confrontational eroticism.

For all its flaws, this is a breathless, invigorating experience, a headlong plunge into Park’s personal abyss and a surprisingly thoughtful take on flawed human morality. That it’s also a rollicking, hysterical splatter-sex-comedy only confirms ‘Thirst’ as one of the year’s more extreme, enjoyable entertainments.

Read an interview with Park here

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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Oct 16, 2009

Duration:

133 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

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LiveReviews|8
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E. S.

Not the nest Asian horror I've seen ("Audition" is difficult to surpass). But this was a true delight. Vampire Catholicism anyone? Vampirisation Theology? Tongue-in-cheek funny, disturbingly sexy, disquieting and morally complex... What else can one ask from a vampire movie?

E. S.

Not the nest Asian horror I've seen ("Audition" is difficult to surpass). But this was a true delight. Vampire Catholicism anyone? Vampirisation Theology? Tongue-in-cheek funny, disturbingly sexy, disquieting and morally complex... What else can one ask from a vampire movie?

Ant

This film was terrible. At the Curzon Soho - people were walking out I hung in in there as I was expecting something rewarding at the end. I was disappointed. Very violent - pointlessly so. Nothing new about it other than it was a vampire movie in Korean - do yourself a favour and avoid this enlongated, violent, tawdry, vampire cliche.

Ant

This film was terrible. At the Curzon Soho - people were walking out I hung in in there as I was expecting something rewarding at the end. I was disappointed. Very violent - pointlessly so. Nothing new about it other than it was a vampire movie in Korean - do yourself a favour and avoid this enlongated, violent, tawdry, vampire cliche.

Dan T.

This is a Vampire story with a difference. The plot is brilliantly conceived from it's premise: A catholic priest becomes a vampire through a blood tranfusion-brilliant!- and feels guilty about the prospect of having to kill humans to survive! What comes next is a witty, dark-humored, brilliantly acted and ultimately most enjoyable story vampire/love story, and with massive appeal even for those who, like myself, are not big fans of genre films. I was very glad to have gone to see it on a recommendation.

Dan T.

This is a Vampire story with a difference. The plot is brilliantly conceived from it's premise: A catholic priest becomes a vampire through a blood tranfusion-brilliant!- and feels guilty about the prospect of having to kill humans to survive! What comes next is a witty, dark-humored, brilliantly acted and ultimately most enjoyable story vampire/love story, and with massive appeal even for those who, like myself, are not big fans of genre films. I was very glad to have gone to see it on a recommendation.